written by Robert Laidlaw

A New Zealand Businessman

About the Author:

The late Robert O. Laidlaw from Auckland, New Zealand, was widely known

as one of his country's most successful and respected businessmen. At the age

of 23, he opened a mail order business that grew spectacularly into a retail

organization employing a staff of more than 2,700 men and women.

The founder of the Farmers' Trading Company, Ltd., Mr. Laidlaw wrote,

"The Reason Why" originally for his staff members, giving his explanation and

the "reasons" for the Christian faith. A more definitive title could well

have been, "The Reason Why Jesus Christ has the Only Answer to Life." Since

that original writing, this booklet has been translated into more than thirty

languages, with an estimated 25 million copies in print. This edition has

been published by the Christian Business Men's Committee, an international

non-profit organization of Christian business and professional men, of which

Robert Laidlaw was a member.


Is Christianity credible? Is there a God?

Does man need Him? Is the Bible true?

Is Man responsible to God? Can man find Divine forgiveness?


When honest with himself, man questions his existence, he wonders at his

world--its beginning and end he searches for personal meaning this man has

explored life and found its fulfillment here he explains the intellectual

evidence he weighed the questions he had answered the resulting belief he


Robert Laidlaw is convinced of God's reality he believes in the Bible in

Christ, in Divine salvation, in purposeful living, in credible Christianity.


Written by a Christian businessman to the members of his staff...

Suppose that a young man sent his fiancee a diamond ring costing him

$1000, placing it in a little case which the jeweller threw in for nothing.

How disappointed he would be, if upon meeting her a few days later, she would

say, "Sweetheart, that was a lovely little box you sent me. To take special

care of it, I promise to keep it wrapped up in a safe place so that no harm

shall come by it."

Rather ridiculous, isn't it? Yet it is just as foolish for men and women

to be spending all their time and thought of bodies, which are only cases

containing the real self, the soul, which, the Bible tells us, will persist

long after our bodies have crumbled to dust. The soul is of infinite value.

Longfellow expressed it this way:

Tell me not in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream,

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real, life is earnest,

And the grave is not its goal.

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Indeed this statement was not made of the soul, for in Mark 8:36 our Lord

Himself asks, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose

his own soul?" So, in Christ's estimate, man's soul is something incomparably

more valuable than the whole world.

I would like to discuss with you some of the basic things that relate to

your most valuable possession, your soul. For instance---

Is there a God?

Is the Bible true?

It man accountable?

Is there divine forgiveness?

These are some of the problems which most perplex those who think seriously

about the future.

How may I know there is a God?

I have an innate conviction that God exists. No matter how my intellect

has tried in the past to produce reasons proving He was not, or how much I

have wanted to believe that there was no God, that "still, small voice" came

to me again and again, just as it has come to you, in the quiet of life's more

sober moments. Yes, I knew that at least for me there was a God. And as I

looked at others I realized how many were looking for God, seeking in

"religion" to silence that same voice that spoke within me.

True, there are some men who don't believe in God. But to me the

problems of unbelief in God are greater than the problems of belief. To

believe that unaided dead matter produced life, that living matter produced

mind, that mind produced conscience, and that the chaos of chance produced the

cosmos of order as we see it in nature, seems to call not for faith but for


The president of the New York Scientific Society once gave eight reasons

why be believed there was a God. The first was this: Take ten identical

coins and mark them one to ten. Place them in your pocket. Now take one out.

There is once chance in ten that you will get number one. Now replace it, and

the chances that number two will follow number one are not one in ten, but one

in one hundred. With each new coin taken out, the risk will be multiplied by

ten, so that the chance of ten following nine is one in 10,000,000,000 (ten

billion). It seemed so unbelievable to me that I immediately took pencil and

paper and very quickly discovered he was right. Try it yourself.

That is why George Gallup, the American statistician said: "I could prove

God statistically. Take the human body alone-the chance that all its

functions would just happen is a statistical monstrosity."

Surely no thoughtful persons would wish to base their eternal future on a

"statistical monstrosity." Perhaps that is why the Bible says in Psalm 14:1

"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God.'" But let us consider the

problem from another viewpoint.

Suppose we are standing at an airport watching a big jet come in for a

landing. I say to you "A lot of people think that plane is a result of

someone's carefully designed plans, but I know better. There was really no

intelligence at work on it at all. In some strange way the metal just came

out of ground, and fashioned itself into flat sheets. And then these metal

sheets slowly began to grow together and formed the body and wings and tail.

Then after a long while the engines slowly grew in place, and one day some

people came along and discovered the plane, all finished and ready to fly."

You would probably consider me a lunatic and move further into the crowd

to escape my senseless chatter. Why? You know that there is a design there

must be a designed, and having seen other productions of the human mind just

like the plane in question, you are positive that it was planned by human

intelligence and built by human skill.

Yet there are highly educated, professional men who tell us that the

entire universe came into being by chance, that there was really no higher

intelligence at work on it. They claim to know no God but nature.

On the other hand there are many thoughtful men who believe that God is

transcendent; that is, while He reveals Himself in nature (in that its laws

and principles are expressions of His power and wisdom), He Himself is greater

than the universe. But all that atheists can offer us in the riddle of design

without a designer, of creation without a Creator, of effect without cause.

Every thoughtful person believes in a series of causes and effects in

nature, each effect becoming the cause of some other effect. The acceptance

of this as fact logically compels one to admit that there must be a beginning

to any series. There could never have been a first effect if there had not

been a First Cause. This First Cause, to me, is Deity.

Although man has discovered many of the laws that govern electricity,

the greatest scientists cannot really define it. Then why do we believe it

exists? Because we see the manifestation of its existence in our homes and

industries and streets. Though I do not know where God came from, I must

believe He exists, because I see the manifestations of Him everywhere around


Dr. Wernher von Braun, director of NASA research, and developer of the

rocket which put American's first space satellite into orbit said:

"In our modern world, many people seem to feel that our rapid advances in

the field of science render such things as religious belief untimely or old-

fashioned. They wonder why we should be satisfied in 'believing' something

when science tells us that we 'know' so many things. The simple answer to

this contention is that we are confronted with many more mysteries of nature

today than when the age of scientific enlightenment began. With every new

answer unfolded, science has consistently discovered at least three new


"The answers indicate that anything as well ordered and perfectly created

as is our earth and universe must have a Maker, a Master Designer. Anything

so orderly, so perfect, so precisely balanced, so majestic as this creation

can only be the product of a Divine idea."

The last professor Edwin Conklin, a noted biologist, very aptly said:

"The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the

probability of an Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a

printing shop."

God exist whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason

why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually

impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful

person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God. Many people are

unwilling to do this. Most of those who take refuge in atheism or agnosticism

do so because it is a convenient "escape" from the stern reality that man is

accountable to his Creator. It is usually not so much a case of "I cannot

believe" as it is a case of "I do not want to believe."

I know only two ways by which God's purpose and God's person may be

known. First there is the process of reason. As a good detective can, for

example, tell you many things about my skills, habits and character just my

examining something I may have made or handled, so much can be learned about

God by a careful examination of the universe, the work of His hands.

But the detective who examines only what I make can never say that he

knows me. He may know some things about me, but before he can say that he

knows me, there must be a process of revelation: I must communicate with him.

I must tell him what I think, how I feel and what I want to do. This self-

revelation may be in conversation, in writing, or in some other way. Only

then does it become possible for him to know me. Just so, if God is ever to

be known and His thoughts, desire and purposes perceived, He must take the

initiative and make at least a partial revelation of Himself to men.

Of all the many books this world contains there is one only that claims

to be a direct revelation from God, telling us of Himself and His purposes for

us. That book is the Bible. The Bible is a book of such importance that it

is surely worthy of thoughtful investigation. So, with that advice of Francis

Bacon neither to accept nor reject, but to weigh and consider, let us approach

this book with its unusual claims.

To be fair to ourselves and to the Bible, we should read it through. As

a judge must not make his decision when the case is half heard, neither must

we. Rather, like the judge, we should compare the evidence of the witnesses,

and weigh and consider every word, seeking for its deepest significance rather

than accepting its surface meaning. Surely the importance of its claims

justifies spending the necessary time on the study of its sixty-six books,

written by at least forty different writer (some well educated, some barely

educated, some kings, some peasants) over a period of 1600 years in places as

far apart as Babylon in Asia and Rome in Europe. With such authorship one

would expect to find a miscellaneous collection contradictory statements. Its

unity is therefore especially striking, for each contribution is the

complement of the others.

In my considerations of this whole matter, slowly the truth of 2 Peter

1:21 became certain to me. There was not reasonable explanation. "Holy men of

God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." This belief was confirmed

as I read prophecy in the Old Testament which found its fulfillment, even to

the letter, hundreds of years later. For instance, Isaiah 52 foretold the

death of Christ with minute accuracy more than 700 years before His

crucifixion. Yes, the difficulties in the way of doubting the Book seemed to

me greater than those in the way of believing it. I had to be honest with

myself and admit that the problems were all on the side of unbelief. I even

went further and said:

"I believe the Bible to be the word of the living God. I can account for it in

no other way."

Such an admission brought me face to face with a serious difficulty,

however, for the Bible set a standard of righteousness that I had not

attained. It pronounced that anything short of its standard was sin.

Remembering that God knows you every secret thought, just measure yourself

alongside the standard: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,

and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great

commandment" (Matthew 22:37,38).

Confronted with such a standard, can you claim to have lived up to it

throughout you life? Have you put God first in everything? No man can

honestly claim such perfection. Every honest heart echoes Romans 3:10 and 23:

"There is none righteous, no, not one....All have sinned, and fall short of

the glory of God." All have failed to reach God's standard.

A young man once asked me, "Do you think it fair of God to set the

standard of holiness so high that we cannot reach it, and then judge us for

falling short?"

I replied, "God has not set an arbitrary standard of holiness as an

official sets an arbitrary standard of height for his bodyguards. It such a

case, a man may have all the other qualifications, but it he is an inch too

short he is disqualified.

"God has not really set a standard at all; His is the standard. He is

absolute holiness, and to preserve His own character He must remain absolutely

holy in all of His dealing with man, maintaining that standard irrespective of

the tremendous implications which it may hold for both Him and us."

My conscience and my common sense compelled me to admit I had fallen

short of God's standard of absolute holiness and, therefore, I was a sinner in

His sight.

On my admission of having sinned came God's condemnation is Ezekiel 18:4:

"The soul that sins, it shall die."

It appealed to me like this: The law in Great Britain says that all

drivers must keep to the left side of the street, while in New York that rule

of the road demands that a driver keep to the right side. Now suppose I go

driving in London and keep to the right side. On being brought before the

judge, I say, "This is ridiculous. In the United States we are allowed to

drive on the right side."

"You are not being judged by the laws of America," he replies. "It does

not matter what the laws of other lands may be, you should have concerned

yourself only with the laws which judge you here, where you are."

In the same way as far as god's standard was concerned, I was lost,

because God's standard was the only one by which I was judged in eternity. I

was hopelessly lost. I began to see that it didn't matter at all what I

thought, or what my friends told me. The judgement would be on what god has

said, not what my friends say. Moreover, because in God's judgment we had all

sinned, there was no use in looking to other men for help, for they were under

the same condemnation as I.

But this same Bible, which told me of my sin, told me also of Jesus

Christ, who claimed to be the Son of God.

It is the clear teaching of the Bible that this person, Jesus Christ, is

God the Son. He saw that men were lost and that they had forfeited their

lives to sin. His life was not forfeited. It was sinless and spotless. This

pure life of His He was willing to give in place of man's sinful life, that we

might go free.

He Himself tells us in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world, that he

gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but

have everlasting life."

If Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then we may indeed be sure of

salvation; but the difficulty faces us: Is Jesus Christ really the Son of God?

He could only be one of three--the Son of God, or a deceiver, or an honest man

Himself under a hallucination. But we find Him meeting some of the cleverest

men of His day, who were purposely sent to catch Him in His words, and He so

silenced them that they did not dare ask Him any more questions (Matthew

22:46). And when we ourselves consider the wisdom of His statements from an

intellectual standpoint, we see plainly that He was under no hallucination as

to Himself.

Then was His wisdom so great that He was using it to deceive the people?

Have you ever heard of a young man associating with swindlers and rogues and

because of that association becoming ennobled, pure and honest? No! You admit

you have not heard of such a case; but I know a young man who by the reception

of Christ into his life has been lifted from the basest desires to the noblest

manhood, I simply cannot believe that the reception of a deceiver into one's

life could transform it for good.

The other day I heard a man say, "I owe it to Jesus Christ that I can

walk down the street with my head erect and my shoulders squared to the world.

I owe it to Him that I can look a pure woman in the face and grip an honest

man by the hand."

I call to witness the opinion of the whole civilized world that Jesus

Christ was at least a good man. If so, then an honest man, and if honest, He

must have been what He claimed to be, the Son of God, sent to lay down His

sinless life in place of your sinful life and mine.

Leaders from several professions have this to say about Jesus Christ:

United States Senator Mark O. Hatfield, testifies: "I saw that for 31

years I had lived for self and decided I wanted to live the rest of my life

only for Jesus Christ. I asked God to forgive my self-centered life and to

make my life His own. Following Jesus Christ has been an experience of

increasing challenge, adventure and happiness. Living a committed Christian

life is truly satisfying because it has give me true purpose and direction by

serving not myself, but Jesus Christ."

Robert E. (Bob) Richards, former Olympic track star, said: "My only

reason for being in sports is to give my testimony to youth of all the world

that Jesus Christ can save from sin, and that one can be a Christian and still

excel in good, creative things. Young people need to realize that God

unleashed a tremendous spiritual power when Jesus Christ died on Calvary."

Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison (Ret.), former Senior Delegate of the United

Nations Command Truce Team in Korea and later Commander-in-Chief of the

Caribbean Command, wrote: "It is wonderful to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ

and I am exceedingly thankful that God has graciously led me to saving faith

in Christ. God gives us who believe in Christ a daily, personal experience

which is convincing evidence of the reality of the new life in Christ."

Convinced that the Scripture is true, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,

believing that He willingly came, that God so lived me that He has willingly

sent Him to suffer the full penalty of my sins that I might go free, if I

would retain my self-respect as an intelligent being, I must accept the Lord

Jesus Christ as my Savior.

But I do not ask you to accept Him as yours, for you may have an

objection: although it is plausible that the Bible is true, are not alternate

views also plausible? Who not be reasonable and submit them to a fair test as


On telling my conviction to a friend, he replied, "You are all right, but

so am I, although I don't see things as you do. It seems to me that it

doesn't matter so much what a man believes, so long as he is sincere in this


Let us test that statement. One fine Sunday morning a neighbor of mine

said to his wife and family, "Let us take the car and go for a picnic."

Traveling north, he came to a railway crossing and , sincerely believing there

would be not trains on a Sunday morning, attempted to drive across. He as

killed on the spot, one son had an arm broken and his little daughter was in a

cast for months. Did his sincere belief that all was clear save him? No, it

did not.

I know a nurse who, on night duty, sincerely believed she held the right

medicine in her hand, but she was wrong, and in twenty minutes her patient was

dead in spite of frantic efforts to save him.

Of course we need sincerity, but we must sincerely believe truth, not

error. If fact, having sincere belief in error can be the very means of

deceiving and finally destroying us.

The Bible leaves no room for doubt. In John 14:6 Christ says: "I am the

way, the truth and the life; no man come to the Father but by me." Acts 4:12

states: "There in no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must

be saved." If you can get to heaven any other way you will be a witness

throughout eternity to the fact that Jesus Christ spoke falsely when He said

there was no other way. But, since He gives full evidence of being the Son of

God, is it not folly to attempt coming to God by any other way than through

Christ Himself, who claims to be God's appointed way?

The real reason we want some other way is because the way of the cross is

a humbling way, and we are proud at heart. But let us remember the way of the

cross was a humbling way for Christ also, as we read in Philippians 2:5-8:

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was

also in Christ Jesus

6 Who, although He existed in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God a thing to

be grasped,

7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a

bondservant and being made in the likeness

of men

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He

humbled Himself by becoming obedient to

the point of death, even death on a cross.

(The New American Standard Bible)

Some people have suggested that all a person needs to do is sincerely reform,

do better in the future, and thus live down past short-comings. This is

supposed to make one fit for heaven. Will this work?

Let us assume that the manager of a business goes to his accountant and

finds that his company owes $50,000 to manufactures and other merchants. He

says, "Write letters to all those people and tell them that we are not going

to trouble about the past, that we have turned over new pages in our ledger,

but we promise to pay 100 cents on the dollar in all future business, and from

now on live up the highest standard of business integrity." The accountant

would think his employer had gone mad, and would refuse to put such a

proposition to the creditors. Yet thousands of otherwise sensible people are

trying to get to heaven by just such a proposal, offerings to meet their

obligations toward God for the future, but refusing to worry about the past at

all. Yet in Ecclesiastes 3:15 we read, "God will call the past to account."

Even if we assume that we can somehow begin to live an absolutely perfect

life--which is no better than we ought to do, but which is certainly

impossible for us--we are still sinners.

God's righteousness demands that no past account shall be considered

settled until it has been paid to the last penny and every claim of justice

met. The murderer may cover his sin and live the life of a model citizen for

ten years after his crime, but when he is discovered, man's law condemns him

to death. Though he has murdered no one for ten long years--it judges him

still a murderer.

To hide past sin, either thought, words or deeds, by what seems to be an

absolutely perfect life, still leaves us sinners in the sight of Him to whom

the past and future are as open as the present. According to God's standards

of holiness, we all have sinned and we must bring that sin out into the open

and have it dealt with righteously.

We each need someone who can clear the books. The bible declares that

Jesus Christ is the only One who could pay this penalty. "We are reconciled

to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ

gave up His life in place of ours that we might go free. Our past sin is paid

for, and God, against whom we had sinned, has given us His receipt showing His

satisfaction with the completed work of Christ on the cross in that He raised

Him from the dead. Christ, once crucified, is now our living Savior. He died

to save us from the penalty of sin and now He lives to deliver us from the

power of sin.

But why did Christ need to die? Could He not have saved us without that? Man

had broken God's law and the penalty was death. How could Christ righteously

deliver us without meeting our full penalty? Do you not see that if He paid

anything less than the full price there would still be judgment for us to

meet? But it is evident that because He died, the law we had broken can judge

us no more.

The Bible says in Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to

them which are in Christ Jesus."

On one occasion an unfinished court case extended to a second day and as

is the usual practice, so that no outside influence could be brought to bear

on the jurymen, they were kept in custody overnight. On entering the court

the next morning, the Judge, addressing the jury, said: "Gentlemen, the case

is dismissed; the prisoner has been called to a higher court." The accused

had died in his cell during the night, and there was no use going on with the

case, since the law cannot judge a dead man.

Again, if a man should murder one person he is put to death, but if he

should murder six people he is still just put to death, because this is the

utmost penalty of the law. No matter what a man's sins may be, the law knows

no greater penalty than to take his life.

Therefore it matters not that there are sins in my life I have long since

forgotten. I fear none of them, for I have this confidence that the Lord

Jesus Christ, my Substitute, suffered the utmost penalty of the law on my

account, freeing me absolutely from all its claims against me, both great and


On the basis of the greatness of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, some have

suggested that if Christ died for all, we must all be saved. But God does not

say so. He says there is salvation for all, not that all are saved.

Here is an illustration. It is a bitterly cold winter, and unemployment

is rife in one of our great cities with man in dire need. The municipal

authorities provide free meals. You meet a poor fellow on the street who say

he is starving. Naturally you ask if he does not believe the notices that are

up all over the city, and there is enough food for all provided free.

"Yes," he replies, "I believe that is true in a general sort of way, but

I am still hungry."

You tell him that he is likely to remain hungry in spite of the

provisions unless he eats and drinks personally of what is proved for all.

Just so,although the death of Christ provides salvation for whosoever

will, only those are saved who personally accept Christ and believe that He

died in their place. I must take Christ as my savior, or His death will avail

me nothing--just as a man could die of thirst beside a spring of water if he

refused to make its life-giving stream his own by drinking of it for himself.

There are some people who still pose the question: How could the Lord

Jesus Christ's one life be considered the substitute for the lives of so many,

so that God offers salvation to whoever places their faith in Christ?

That seems a fair question--a problem in arithmetic that can be

demonstrated on paper. Christ was God manifest in the flesh--Divinity in

humanity--so that the life He gave was an infinite life, which can meet the

needs of any number of finite lives. Get a sheet of paper and write down all

the big figures you can think of--millions or more--add them up. Now you have

a big number, then multiply it by 10-100-by a million if you like--cover

sheets of paper and after all you still have a finite number--a number that

has bounds set about it--a beginning and an end, however far it may extend.

No, by adding finite things together no man has ever been able to make that

which is infinite. The infinite life of Christ given for sinners is more than

sufficient to save all who accept Him as the One who died for them.

But how could Christ suffer for my sins when they were not committed till

more than 1900 years after He died?

At first this seems a problem to a thoughtful person, but the more

thoughtful you are, the more readily you will see the solution. God is

omniscient (that is, He knows all things), and God is eternal. In Exodus 3:14

God calls himself "I AM" (present tense), and Christ says in John 8:58 "Before

Abraham was, I AM" (present tense). In other words, to one who know all

things and is eternal, there is, as it were, neither past nor future, but one

eternal present. Events yet to take place 2000 years ahead must be as clear

to Him as events which happened 2000 years ago, and both must of necessity be

just as clear to God as event happening now.

But why did not God make man incapable of disobeying His will and

therefore incapable of sinning?

Such a question is like asking why does not God draw a crooked straight

line or a round square, or make an object black all over and white all over at

one and the same time. Man is a creature with the power of intelligent

choice, so that the question really is: Why didn't God make a creature with

the power of intelligent choice and yet without the power of intelligent

choice at one and the same time?

If I had the power of hypnotism, I would be able to put my two sons into

an hypnotic state, thus robbing them of the power of intelligent choice, and

the say, "Sit on those chairs till I return"--"Get up and eat"--"Stop eating"-

-"Kiss me goodnight", and unfeeling arms would go around my neck, and

unresponsive lips would be pressed to mine. I would have prompt and perfect

obedience to my every command, but would I find satisfaction in it? No!

I want boys with free wills who are capable of disobeying me, but who

willingly choose to carry out my instructions, which are the outcome of my

love for them and are given for their own good. I cannot conceive of God, who

put these desires in my heart and yours, being satisfied with anything less


God does not want puppets who jump in a given direction according to the

wire that is pulled, not does He want robots in the form of "men" who

mechanically and absolutely obey His will as do the planets that whirl through

space. God can find satisfaction in nothing less than the spontaneous love of

our hearts and our free-will decisions to walk in paths that please and honor

Him. But it is obvious that this same power of free action enables us to defy

and dishonor Him if we so choose.

Man is truly a magnificent creature, far above the animal creation around

him. This is no "missing link." But a great gulf is fixed between the

highest beast and man, for God has given man the awesome power of being able

to say no to God as well as an effective yes. In your own interests, may I

ask which you are saying to God now as you read this booklet?


What does God care about this little world of ours compared with the

vastness of the mighty universe?

Think of our own solar system, with the planet Neptune thirty times as

far away from the sun as our earth, so that it takes 164 of our years to make

one of Neptune's, and beyond this, suns with planets revolving around the sun!

Of what importance can our earth be to God, and of how much less importance

can man be?

So said the astronomer as the faith of his youth fled--this is what the

telescope had done for him. The vastness of the heavens had robbed him of

faith in his mother's God, for how could God trouble Himself about man, who is

less than a grain of sand in comparison?

But his thirst for knowledge would not let him rest. The heavens were

available for study only at night; how should the free hours of the day be

spent? Why not a microscope? And lo! worlds were opened at his feet--worlds

as wonderful as those above, and slowly his faith came back. Yes, the God who

could attend to such minute details as to make a drop of ditch water throb

with miniature life was sure to be interested in man, the highest form of His

creation. The man found balance instead of bias, and balance brought him back

to God. John 3:16 was true after all.

But is faith logical?

Yes, it is logical. It is a mistake to think that faith is opposed to

reason. Faith and reason go hand in hand, but faith goes on when reason can

go no farther. Reason, to a great extent, is dependent on faith, for without

knowledge it is impossible to reason, and knowledge is very largely a matter

of faith in human testimony. For instance, I believe strychnine administered

in a large enough dose will poison a human being, but I have never seen the

experiment performed. Yet I have such faith in the written testimony of men

that I would not take a large dose of strychnine for anything.

If you check up carefully, you will find that nine-tenths of the things

you know (?) are a matter of faith in human testimony, written or spoken, for

you have not verified them for yourself. Then, having accepted the testimony

of men on other matters, will you not accept the testimony of thousands of

Christians when they affirm that they have verified the things written God's

Word and have proved them to be true?

But why should God judge my sins as worthy of death?

I cannot answer that, but I would suggest that because of His infinite

holiness no sin could exist in His presence. In some primitive cultures, a

native chief may club his wife to death on slight provocation without falling

in the slightest degree in the estimation of his people. The same act is our

land would have to be paid for by the life of the murderer. The act is the

same in both lands, but in one instance no judgment; in the other, quick

retribution. The difference is simply the result of our enlightenment. If a

sin, which in a primitive culture is considered as nothing, would cause a man

to lose his life in our land, think, if you can, what some other sin, which

appears to us as nothing, must look like to an infinitely Holy God--"For God

is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).

It may be just, but is it merciful of God to refuse to take us all to

heaven even if we reject Christ as our sin-bearer?

Yes, both just and merciful. Would it be kindness to transfer a poor

ragged beggar into the glare of a beautiful ballroom? Would be not be more

conscious of his rags and dirt? Would he not do his best to escape again to

the darkness of the street? He would be infinitely happier there. Would it

be kindness and mercy on God's part to bring a man in his sins into the holy

light of Heaven if that man had rejected God's offer of the only cleansing

power there is? If you and I would not wish our friends' to see inside our

minds now and read all the thoughts that have ever been there (and our

friends' standards are perhaps not any higher than our own) what would it be

like to stand before God, whose absolute holiness would reveal our sin in all

its awfulness?

Revelation 6:16 tells us of the feelings of those who refuse to accept

Jesus Christ as their Savior and persist in going to eternity in their sins.

They call on the mountains and the rocks to fall on them and hide them from

the face of the One who sits on the throne. Yet it is the presence of this

same Christ that will make Heaven for those who have accepted Him as Savior

and Lord.

You see the absurdity of talking about God taking us all to heaven-

heaven is a condition as well as a place. The presence of the Lord Jesus

Christ will constitute heaven to those who are cleansed from their sins, while

that some presence would make a hell of remorse in the hearts of any who,

still in their sins, should stand in the infinite light of His holiness. Let

us be quite reasonable--could you really be happy in the presence of One whose

love you had rejected, and whose great sacrifice you had not counted worthy of

your acceptance?





Salvation by Substitution--

The Innocent Bearing the

Penalty for the Guilty

We have considered reasonable evidence that God does exist and that He

has revealed in the Bible His holy claims on men and women. We have been

shown that "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans

3:23). We have been faced with Jesus Christ, God's Son, who came to this

earth to die for the sin of man. We have also considered numerous objections,

raised by people who have other ideas about God's plan of salvation. Now we

are going to think through the wisdom and the wonder of God's plan of

salvation for sinful people. In a word, it is salvation by substitution.

God's love would have forgiven the sinner, but God's righteousness

prevented the forgiveness. God's righteousness would have judged the sinner,

but God's love restrained the judgement. How to reconcile His inherent

righteousness with His character of essential love was a problem that no human

philosopher could have solved, but divine wisdom and mercy find their highest

expression in the solution--the vicarious suffering and death of God the Son.

"But," one may object, "does not Christianity fail at its very foundation

by basing everything on substitution? Substitution will not stand thoughtful

investigation. It makes Christ, the Innocent, bear the penalty for the guilty

and thus lets the guilty go free. It is diametrically opposed to our every

idea of justice, for we believe that justice should protect the innocent and

bring the full penalty upon the guilty."

But see God's perfect justice and perfect mercy revealed at the cross.

He does not there take the innocent and compel him to bear the penalty of the

guilty. God acts like the judge in this story:--It is on record that of two

young men who studied law together one rose to a seat on the bench, while the

other took to drink and wasted his life. On one occasion this poor fellow was

brought before his old companion, charged with crime, and the lawyers present

wondered what kind of justice would be administered by the judge under such

trying circumstances. To their surprise, he sentenced his one-time companion

to the heaviest penalty the law allowed, and then paid the fine himself and

set his old friend free.

God, against whom we had sinned, in justice sat upon His judgment throne

and passed the heaviest penalty He could--the sentence of death upon the

sinner. Then, in mercy, He stepped down form His throne and, in the person of

His Son, took the sinner's place, bearing the full penalty Himself. 2

Corinthians 5:19 tells us "that God was in Christ," not through Christ, but in

Christ, "reconciling the world to himself."

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one God. The

same God against whom we had sinned passed the judgment, paid the penalty, and

now offers us full and free pardon, based upon absolute righteousness. That

is why the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:16,17: "I am not ashamed of the

gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for the Salvation of everyone who

believer...for therein is the righteousness of God revealed..." I, too, can

say that I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for no man can honestly

find a flaw in the righteous forgiveness offered by God to man. That is the

righteousness you may possess now, at this very moment, if you will accept.


But is the acceptance of Christ as my Savior all that is necessary to

save me for all eternity? Yes, I admit the very simplicity of it seems to

make it hard to grasp. But if I owe $500 and have nothing with which to pay,

and a friend pays the debt for me and gives me the receipt, I don't worry

about it any more. I can look my creditor straight in the face, for I hold

his signed receipt. As Jesus Christ gave His life in place of mine, He said:

"it is finished," meaning that the work of atonement was completed, and God

gave me His receipt. The assurance that He was satisfied with Christ's

finished work is that He (God) raised Christ from the dead on the third day.

"But I can't see it," said a certain cabinetmaker, as a friend tried to

explain this to him. At last an idea came to his friend, who, lifting a

plane, made as though he would plane the top of a beautifully polished table

that stood near.

"Stop!" cried the cabinetmaker. "Don't you see that's finished? You'll

simply ruin it if you use that plane on it."

"Why," replied his friend, "that's just what I have been trying to show

you about Christ's work of redemption. It was finished when He gave His life

for you, and if you try to add to that finished work you can only spoil it.

Just accept it as it stands--His life for yours, and you go free." Life a

flash, the cabinetmaker saw it and received Jesus Christ into his life as his


"But," says someone, "there is one more problem that puzzles me. I know

a polished cultured gentleman who is not a Christian and states so quite

definitely, and I know a rather crude uncultured man who is a Christian and

who shows his genuine belief in many ways. Do you mean to tell me God prefers

the uncultured man simply because he has accepted and acknowledged Christ as

his Savior?" This question arises from a confusion of ideas. A Christian is

not different in degree from a non-Christian, he is different in kind, just as

the difference between a diamond and a cabbage is not one of degree, but of

kind. The one is polished, and the other is crude, but the one is dead while

the other is alive, therefore the one has what the other has not in any degree

whatever, life--and such is the difference God see between a Christian and a


Here is one of many such statement He makes in His Word. 1 John

5:11,12: "And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and

this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; and he who does not

have the Son of God does not have life." So that the vital and all-important

question for everyone of us becomes not am I cultured or uncouth, but am I

alive or dead toward God? Have I received God's risen Son who brings me life

from above, the life of God, called in the Bible eternal life? Or have I not

received Him and am I therefore classed by God as among those who "have not


But how may I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior?

If I know that, according to Ephesians 2:1, I am "dead in trespasses and

sins," as regards my relationship with God; if I believe Jesus Christ gave His

life in place of mine, and that now by the receiving of Him as my Savior I may

have eternal salvation, will perceiving these facts in a cold mechanical way

give me everlasting life? Most certainly not!

A wealthy man loses all his money, and rather that sacrifice his social

position, he agrees to give the hand of his daughter to a rich man whom she

despises. At first she refused point-blank, but when her father shows her the

expediency of the marriage, that it is his only hope of being saved from utter

want, she consents and goes through the marriage ceremony and becomes,

according to the law of the land, the rich man's wife. But is her heart

really his? Surely not!

You see it now, don't you? When a man and a woman would be truly one,

they must love with such a love as to receive each other into those innermost

recesses of their hearts in such a deep, true way that they cannot fully

express in words all that they feel.

We all have the innermost recess of our beings, which is sacred to us,

where emotions stir that no one else could possible understand. Jesus Christ,

God's Son, because of His love for us, claims the right to enter there. He

will take no other place in our lives. The love He has shown for us entitles

Him to that place. Will I withhold it?

When I think that Christ's love for me was so great that He left His

Father's glory and came to earth, becoming truly human that He might suffer

and die in my place to give me eternal life, my heart soften toward Him.

If, when I lay sick and helpless in a burning building, a friend had

rushed in to save me, and wrapping the blankets about me that I might receive

no harm, had himself been critically scarred and burned about the face and

arms, would not my heart go out to him? God know it would.

And now I am face to face with my Savior. I see Him suffering in the

Garden of Gethsemane in anticipation of His death on the cross for me. I see

Him in Pilate's Judgment Hall; the soldiers have been striking Him in the

face, saying, "Prophesy, who smote thee?" I see them crowding Him with a

crown of thorns. They have taken Him bleeding and bruised from judgment to

Calvary where they are driving spikes through His hands and feet. As He is

then lifted up to die between two thieves, the people gather around to mock

and revile Him, though He is pouring out His life to redeem them. Then I

began to understand what self-sacrificing love really means as I hear Him cry:

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

But even if we could enter sympathetically into the physical suffering of

Christ until tears streamed down our cheeks, and that was all, we should have

failed miserably to comprehend the true significance of the cross.

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that "he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin

for us, who knew no sin." Come with me, I plead with you, with bowed head and

humble heart, and let us, it we may, enter into the soul-sufferings of Christ

the Son, and of God the Father, as that Holy One, who loathed sin as we would

loathe leprosy in "made sin for us."

If the higher the development of the physical organism the greater the

capacity for pain, then the higher the development of the moral character, the

greater the capacity for soul-suffering.

Have you ever heard of a venerable old gentleman, justly proud of his

honored name--a man who would sooner lose his right hand than use it to do a

dishonorable deed? His son and heir goes astray from the paths of virtue and

in a drunken brawl murders someone. And the old man walks no more erect, his

head is bowed in shame, and soon his soul-suffering brings his gray hairs in

sorrow to the grave.

If that be possible (and it is possible even for us to feel the disgrace

of a greater sin than we are used to), think what sin must be like in all its

awfulness to an absolutely holy God! Now we understand why, in the Garden of

Gethsemane, Christ turns in loathing from sin and cries in agony of soul: "my

Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I

will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). Yet in spite of that agonized cry

from Gethsemane, "God so loved the world that he have his only begotten Son"

to be "made sin" for us, "that whoever believes in him should not perish, but

have everlasting life" (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:21).

Now do you understand why I said that if I would retain any ideal of

manhood, or any nobleness of character, I dare not reject One who has endured

so much for me? My intellect has reasoned it all out; my emotions have been

deeply stirred; and now they both appeal to my will for a decision. To be

true to my God and myself and my eternal future I have only one course open,

and I must take it. Today Jesus Christ is my personal Savior and my Lord.

Because of His love to me, because of the way He has blessed me here, and

because of my assurance of a glorious hereafter, my heart's desire is that you

might share in the blessings I enjoy. Christ had done all. I say it

reverently. He can do no more. He has borne the penalty of your sin; He has

been raised by the power of God; now He presents Himself to you. Will you

accept Him as Savior and Lord?

You are saying; "It seems so mysterious; the mystery of it all baffles

me." I do not ask you to understand the mystery of it. I cannot understand

its mystery myself, nor can any Christian in this life. I am asking you to

rejoice in its fact.

Electricity remains a mystery. We have discovered many of the laws which

govern it, but we cannot tell what it really is. You and I do not worry about

the mystery of electricity as we make use of its benefits. You must have known

men who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and were so changed as to be

actually new men in Christ. Will you not let these facts that you have seen

for yourself influence you? Yes, it is just as simple as switching on an

electric light.

Come saying: "Oh God, I cannot understand the mystery of it all. I

cannot understand why You cared enough for me to send Jesus Christ to bear the

penalty of my sins. But with all my lack of understanding, I am willing and I

do yield to You; absolutely. I trust in the fact of His death for me and the

promise that You have made in John 3:16 "that whoever believes in him shall

not perish, but have everlasting life."

Just as you leave the mystery of the electric current with the engineer

and take the benefits of the light for yourself, so leave the mystery of

salvation with God and take the infinite benefits of a personal savior to

yourself. Yield to Him now--He wants to come into your life. Say and mean

it: "I am Yours, Lord Jesus; yielded to You, body, soul and spirit, and You

are mine." Then clinch it by signing the declaration form on the next page.



Before God, who knows the innermost secrets

of my soul, I accept Jesus Christ into my life as

my Savior and Lord. I yield absolutely to Him. I

know, on the authority of His own written Word

in John 5:24, that I have everlasting life, for

there He says, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears

my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal

life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over

from death to life."

A Further Word:

Perhaps you have not yet made a decision to place your faith in Jesus

Christ. The consider the following:

Someone says, "I am one of those individuals who most emphatically

resents being brought to a definite decision on any important subject. It is

not that I have no willpower. If fact, I am so strong-willed that I am

determined neither to pull up against the current nor pull down with it. I am

determined to do nothing but just drift, slowly drift, down the stream of time


"But I hate to think about it! True believers in Jesus Christ look

forward to eternity with joy. But I--why am I not honest enough to admit to

myself that my resentment at the question is only because I do not want to

decide in the way I know I ought to? Yet I must fact it some day. Then why

not now?"

Now that you have done so, read this little book again. It will seem so

much clearer. Then read the entire gospel of John in the New Testament.

Now for the last point, a most important one. If you open your Bible at

Romans 10:9 to 11 you will read: "That if you confess with your mouth the

Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you

will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified;

and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture

says, "Everyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

You say you have accepted Christ--go and tell someone--do not be ashamed

to confess Him. Why should you be? Suppose I had fallen off the wharf,

injuring myself so that I could not swim, and a laborer working on a coal

barge had plunged in and saved me. If a month later you saw me walking down

Main Street and the same laborer, all begrimed with coal dust, coming up from

the opposite direction, and you see that I noticed him first and deliberately

turned to look into a store window so that I would not have to stop and greet

him because I was ashamed to be seen talking to him, what would you think of


You have declared that you believe the Lord Jesus Christ has given His

life to save you. Occasions will arise when you will meet Him face to face in

the presence of those who despise Him. Will you be ashamed and look the other

way, or will you honor Him in both word and deed as your Lord and Savior?

Having really accepted Him, you must and you will acknowledge Him.

I make on apology for the truth which underlies these pages. I have

sought to write what I believe God would have me write in the discharge of my

duty to Him and to you. I follow this booklet with the earnest prayer that

God will bless it to your eternal welfare.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert A. Laidlaw

This booklet was made available on this bulletin board by the Christian

Business Men's Committee (CBMC). The Christian Business Men's Committee is an

international evangelical organization of Christian business and professional

men whose primary purpose is to present Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to

other business and professional men and to train these men to carry out the

Great Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 1:28-29).

CBMC of USA is a nondenominational, non-profit Christian ministry

supported by gifts from people committed to reaching and discipling business

and professional men for Jesus Christ.

More information may be obtained by writing: Christian Business Men's

Committee of USA, 1800 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404 or Christian

Business Men's Committee of Lexington Park, P. O. Box 463, California,

Maryland 20619

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