THE above question may seem a strange one, yet it is very significant. The apostle John, that beloved disciple, had been exalting the name of Jesus in testifying to his Sonship, and Lordship over all things, yet a man, the son of Mary. In his wonderful testimony of Jesus the brethren were confirmed in their faith and hope and made to rejoice in God their Savior. Such firmness of faith in the Son of God was a blessed gift in those trying days, when so many believed not on him, nor did they reckon the apostles as men of God. But Jesus said to them, “Ye are my witnesses,” and they testified unto the truth, because they knew it, in the face of all opposition and persecution. When Peter and John were whipped, cast into prison and commanded to speak no more in the name of Jesus, an angel came by night, loosed their fetters, led them out and said, “Go stand in the temple and preach all the words of this life.” This was done, as it seems to us, first to show that the powers of earth could not prevent Jesus in his work, through his disciples, of preaching his everlasting gospel. Second, it was for the confirmation of the faith of those called to preach, that he would be with them alway, even unto the end of the world. Such blessed tokens of God’s power and mercy made the apostles bold in the Lord to testify to the grace of God, saying, “He hath delivered, and he doth deliver, and he will deliver.” Such demonstrations built up the churches on their most holy faith and caused them to triumph over the enemies of Christ and of the cross of the Lord Jesus. No man can testify to the truth unless he knows the truth; no man can receive such testimony except he be born of God. In the revelation of Jesus Christ the whole truth is made known in the same power and fullness to each one alike. The minister in this sense has no advantage over the feeblest of the flock – knows no more of the glory of God in the salvation of sinners than the most illiterate son or daughter of God. He is given power of expression, perhaps, in a greater degree than private members, but never tells them anything they do not know. It is now as John said to his brethren: “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it.” Therefore there is a sense in which all the children of God are witnesses of him and to his truth. One who testifies that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, the only way to God, bears witness unto the truth, hence is not “a liar.” Now, if all these be true witnesses of God, “Who is a liar?” Surely there must have been such in John’s day, or he would not have alluded to them in this most wonderful letter, Yes, there have always been liars in the World since the day Cain preached, by his offering, that favor with God depends upon works – fruits of the ground. It does not seem to us that John was finding fault with the liar for his lie in the sense that he might have done better, but merely making the statement that any man who denied that Jesus was the Christ was verily “a liar,” and the truth was not in him. It was just as impossible then for a man to bear testimony unto the truth who had not the truth in him, as it was for Cain to offer an acceptable offering, by faith, unto God, when he had no faith in him. Hence when writing along this line or preaching along this line Old Baptists do not mean to find fault with a man because he is blind, nor because he is “a liar,” but, like John, simply call attention to the fact that such are in the world, and without the revelation of Jesus Christ will continue to lie in presenting false doctrine. The name “Christ” means “anointed” and by referring to Isaiah lxi. 1, it will be seen what he was anointed for: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” This anointing was different from that of Aaron, who was anointed with ointment that he might minister in the worldly sanctuary. Jesus was anointed with the Spirit of the living God to do the will of the Father in bringing many sons unto glory. The witness of God testifies that Jesus was anointed of the Lord God, given power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life unto as many as the Father had given him; that to these subjects he preached glad tidings; that these were all brokenhearted because of sin, and that he bound them up; that he proclaimed liberty to the captives and opened the prison to them that were bound. Herein is the full work of Jesus in the salvation of sinners presented, and he himself read this Scripture and said, This day is it fulfilled in your ears. The man who speaks the truth tells of Jesus, his power and Godhead, and that he did all that the Father sent him to do. Yes, to-day Christ Jesus, the anointed Savior, is the theme of all gospel preaching, and the adoration of all the saints of God. But, “Who is a liar?” is the question of John the apostle. To confess Jesus Christ is to give him all glory, power and dominion, thus crowning him Lord of all. To preach Jesus is to preach life from the dead and the final glory and peace of all the saints. To sing such songs as “Jesus, lover of my soul,” is to render praise to him for his loving-kindness and tender mercy. To pray in his name is to acknowledge, confess him as the Mediator between God and man, which means that all our righteousness, all our worthiness, all our peace, is in him. This excludes all merit in man, and brings Jesus to view as the only name in which men can ask favor of God, and the only access to the throne of grace. To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to verily believe that he was God manifest in the flesh. If a mortal believes this it is with the heart unto salvation, and confession is made with the mouth of all such witnesses that Jesus is the Christ, to the glory of God the Father. But, “Who is a Liar?” It seems almost unnecessary after what we have already said to comment upon the question, yet to make the matter more complete we shall give a slight description of the man John calls “a liar.” We have listened to preaching from time to time for about forty-five years, and can well remember many things that far back; have heard most every denomination give their opinion of Jesus, and with all due respect to all, have never heard one, except an Old School Baptist, or those in sympathy with them, exalt Jesus a Prince and a Savior to give repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins. To preach Jesus as wanting to accomplish something, yet not able to perform it without the help of man, is to limit him in power, which is contrary to his own declaration: “All power in heaven and earth is given into my hands.” To preach that Jesus opened a way through which men can be saved if they will, is contrary to his last words: “It is finished” – salvation for time and eternity. To preach that there is a spark of eternal life in every man, and that by a little effort on his part he can produce a flame, is to deny the word of God when he said by his apostle, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” To preach that Jesus was only an example of the highest type of manhood, and that all men can be as divine as he if they will live right, and that the best citizen is the best christian, is to deny the Sonship of the only begotten Son of God and assert that morality is religion. To proclaim that men, women and children can be taught the way of life and salvation by earthly teachers, is in direct opposition to the Scripture which declares: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” To say a man’s prospect of salvation and everlasting happiness depends upon his own volition to accept the terms, is to deny flatly Paul’s testimony: By grace are ye saved, not of works, lest any man should boast. To affirm that children that die without being baptized (sprinkled) are lost, is to deny the blood of the Lamb, saying it has no efficacy, but sprinkling is salvation. To say a man can reform and he a child of God to-day and to-morrow go back into his old habits and be a child of the devil, denies absolutely the unity of Christ and his bride.
Now, after calling attention to these few of the many things contrary to Jesus of Nazareth, we will give John’s answer to his own question: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” What a blessed favor to have the Father and the Son, and what a privilege to acknowledge, confess them in all their glory and Godhead before men! This same Jesus whom the enemies slew and hanged on a tree, God hath made both Lord and Christ. Though placed in the tomb, and a watch set to keep him there, God raised him from the dead and sit him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Unto him his children look, in him they trust, with him they commune and with him shall they ascend the skies to ever be with the Lord. K.
Elder H. C. Ker
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 10
May 15, 1914