This writer does not wear clerical garb, but somehow when he visits a church away from home, someone is apt to step up to him and ask: “Are you by any chance a minister?”
Acts 13 tells how this once happened to Paul and Barnabas. They had entered a synagogue as strangers and simply sat down to listen. After “the reading of the law and the prophets,” however, the leaders of the service sent someone to ask them: “Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on” (Verses 14 and 15). Somehow Paul and Barnabas had been recognized as men of God.
The custom at that time was to read a passage from the Law and then some passages in which the prophets urged the people to observe the Law. This was followed by an exhortation by one or more of the religious leaders present.
Well, Paul did have a word of exhortation for the people, but it would be somewhat of a surprise. Getting to the point of his message, he preached to them Christ and the resurrection, and closed his talk with the words: “Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”(Verses 38 and 39).
This was the gist of his “exhortation”: Don’t trust in the Law for salvation — trust in Christ, who fulfilled the Law and died for your sins. This makes sense, and it agrees with the Bible as a whole. “By the Law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20): “it was added because of transgressions” (Gal.3:19): “for as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse” (Gal.3:10); but “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Gal.3:13). “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).
It should be obvious that the Law can only condemn sinners, but it is also a fact that Christ died for sinners, to save them from the condemnation of the Law. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
“It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles.”
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you’ll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.