(Adapted from an assignment submitted for FEBC’s Life of Christ I course on 18th April 2006)
Firstly, I must say that I entered this course somewhat hesitantly. Some years ago, I sat through a course also by Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo – “The Harmony of the Gospels”. Would this new course cover the same ground? Are not the Gospels filled with Christ and His life? Should I apply my time to learn something “new” instead?
As I continued with the course, however, I realised that my apprehension was uncalled for. In fact, I am thankful to the Lord that I embarked on it. While it is true that much of what I have learnt from the previous course is related in small ways, there are many new and profound lessons for me, some of which are enumerated below:
o I found answers to questions that used to perplex me.
One example was: “Why did Jesus pray? Why did He have to pray when He Himself is God?” I realise that I have overlooked His humanity. In His human frailty, Jesus prayed for strength; He prayed for God’s guidance before choosing His disciples. Through His prayers, Christ showed His total dependence upon His Father and submission to His will. Moreover, by His constant communion with God, our Lord set for us an example: “Men ought always to pray, and not faint” (Lk 18: 1).
Another question Dr Khoo answered was: “If Satan cannot cast out Satan, then how do the bomohs and mediums cast out evil spirits?” I learnt from our lecturer that Satan is perfectly capable of “conspiring” with his demons to deceive people.
I was also enlightened on the issue of “the unpardonable sin”. Dr Khoo’s lecture notes made it plain – “The constant, persistent, voluntary, wilful, decisive rejection of the Gospel is tantamount to the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Life of Christ I, p133).
During His public ministry, Jesus performed many miracles to authenticate His Messiahship and message. However, the Jewish religious leaders refused to believe in Him. In their wilful and persistent rejection of Christ and His teachings, they had committed the unpardonable sin which would bring about God’s judicial blinding and hardening of the heart.
What a sobering warning this is to those who continually spurn the Gospel! The fearful day will come when the door of grace will be forever shut. In such a tragic case, it will be vain to pray for that person: “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jer 7: 16). God will judicially blind and harden the heart and it will be impossible for the wilful to repent. What an alarming prospect for those who think that they will have “a second chance”. The apostle
Paul’s solemn warning to the mixed multitude is clear: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10: 31). May we seriously consider our need for the Lord and turn to Him while there is yet time.
o I was reminded of the precious lessons from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
These reminders are so needful for we are a forgetful people who are often dull of hearing. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are called to be different from the people of the world. While non-believers strive for earthly gain, riches and fame, we who belong to Christ must not strive like them. We are to be poor in spirit and pure in heart. We are to humble ourselves and mourn for our sins. When persecuted for the Gospel’s sake, we are to rejoice and bless our persecutors (Matt 5: 1-12).
These teachings of Christ are so different from the teachings of the world. The world tells us to assert and laud ourselves. Sadly, these worldly efforts will only lead to a miserable life. The secret to true happiness is to practise all the teachings of Christ as taught in the Sermon on the Mount – to humble ourselves, to deal mercifully, to maintain a pure heart, to depend wholly on the Lord and to commit our cares to Him Who does all things well. It is the Christian’s blessed comfort and joy to belong to such a wonderful, loving and kind Saviour. We need nothing else for in Christ we have everything (Ps 23: 1).
o I was convicted to cherish every opportunity to learn God’s Word.
To many of us, God’s Word is full of difficult issues and mysteries. But the Lord has graciously blessed the Bible-Presbyterian churches with a sound, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching Bible College and God-fearing faculty members. Despite their heavy workload and the care of their respective churches, these lecturers have set aside time to teach and equip students for the full-time ministry. Though this places additional demands on their time, they do it with joy – heartily as unto the Lord for the good of His people. May we set aside time to learn God’s Word from His faithful servants. (… to be continued)
– Sis Helen Wee