Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Fifty Four

May 21, 2020

Dear friends, 

In looking through a pile of papers at home yesterday, I found a message that the late Ernest C. Manning gave on December 12, 1993. Besides serving as Premier of Alberta from 1943 to 1968, Mr. Manning spoke on Canada’s National Bible Hour, which is now broadcast on a network of radio stations under the direction of Dr. Brian Albrecht, President of MissionGO (formerly Global Outreach Mission).

Mr. Manning’s message is entitled “Which Group Are You In?” and begins with these words: “May I ask you to give me your reaction to something Jesus Christ said when He was here on earth. It’s recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 6. This is what He said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’  

Before you answer, be sure you understand the significance of what He said. He was talking to His disciples about God, His father. He told them that soon He would be returning to His father in heaven … But Thomas, one of His disciples said, wait a minute Lord, you say you’re going back to God, your father. We don’t understand that. You’ve told us that all members of the human race are alienated from God by sin. We know that God is holy and will not and cannot tolerate sin in His presence. By what way can we come into His holy presence and into His heavenly house?”

After citing the apostle Peter’s declaration, speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), Manning writes: “The implication of Christ’s statement and the Holy Spirit’s confirmation is mind boggling. Think of what it means. Every member of the human race is infected with the virus of sin. We’re all sinful by nature. We don’t have to learn to do what is sinful in the sight of God. It comes naturally to us because our sin-infected natures, which we inherited from our parents going back to Adam, are prone to do evil.”

E.C. Manning’s words – “Every member of the human race is infected with the virus of sin” – are timely, as we face a global pandemic. As devastating as COVID-19 is, with more than five million people having been infected, there is something much more widespread: sin. There is good news, though. As Manning went on to say in his message, “God sent Jesus Christ into this world to become the substitute sin-bearer, in place of guilty mankind. He bore our sins on His own body on the Cross. He was made to be sin for us, the Scriptures say, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” He goes on to examine four groups of people based on their different responses to the person and Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Those in the first group make no response for the simple reason they’ve never heard the Gospel and they know nothing of Jesus Christ … The second group consists of those who have heard the Gospel and know about Christ, but reject the whole thing as irrational and irrelevant … The third group is very large, and in some respects their position is the saddest of all. I refer to those who are frequently called nominal Christians … The last group consists of those who do know Him in that real and personal way.” Brother Manning concluded his message by asking his listeners “… in which of the four groups are you today?”

In the mail that we received in our ministry office yesterday, there was a note from a student who wrote that two relatives would like to begin following the Bible courses: a seventeen-year-old recently trusted in Christ and a thirty-five-year-old has “come back to the Lord.” I trusted in the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour when I was 17 and have met people in each of the four groups that Mr. Manning mentioned. When I was in France in the 1970s, I met a man who had never heard the name of Jesus. I was so surprised and sad to learn this.

If you have never asked God’s forgiveness for your sins, what are you waiting for? Come to Him today. If you have trusted in Him but have wandered away from following Him, come back to Him today.     

Scripture for the weekend: “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 (NKJV)

Thought for the weekend: “To be broken is the beginning of revival. It is painful, it is humiliating, but it is the only way. It is being ‘Not I, but Christ,’ and a ‘C’ is a bent ‘I.’” – Roy Hession (from “The Calvary Road”)


By His grace,