“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no excuse
for their sin,” (Jn. 15:22).
When Jesus came into this world, he showed us who God really is. Like a great light (Jn. 8:12),
he eliminated the darkness then prevailing, and removed all excuses. Man could no longer say,
“Show us the Father! Show us what God is really like! If we could only see God, we would obey
him!” Suddenly, there he was! And then his life and works were recorded for all in the Bible—
that great eliminator of excuses.
- There is no excuse for denying the existence of God. It was difficult to do this before, but
now, with the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is utterly senseless. Even in the dim moonlight of the
Mosaic Age, David observed that “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,” (Ps. 14:1).
But now, in the bright sunlight of this Gospel Age, the evidence before us is overwhelming. We
have seen him! He has lived and walked among us! No longer are we called merely servants, but
his children are his “friends” because “all things that I heard from my Father I have made known
unto you,” (Jn. 15:15). There is no excuse for denying the reality and personhood of God the
Father, because he has revealed himself to us through the spotless life and works of Jesus Christ.
- There is no excuse for rejecting the Bible as God’s word. Both Testaments of the Bible
revolve around and center upon Jesus Christ. He is there on every page. It all makes sense and
has its fulfillment in him. He calls to us from every verse. We might have doubted the Bible had
it not been fully confirmed by credible witnesses—had it not been demonstrated for all to see.
It’s not just a book of theory, but of practical application. Christ has shown us that it actually
works. Further, he has given us a model, a demonstration of how to do it in our own lives. The
Bible is more than a storybook, or good reading, or good advice. It has become the standard by
which I must order my life. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that
judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I spake not from
myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and
what I should speak,” (Jn.l 12:48-49).
- There is no excuse for dismissing or minimizing the Lord’s church. The Good Shepherd
has made himself known, and he says that we must be in his flock. Not just any flock—wandering
about wherever we will—but loyally following him and supporting our fellow brothers and
sisters in Christ. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep,”
(Jn. 10:11). Is there any excuse for following other shepherds? Supporting the churches of men?
Holding membership in and encouraging the countless and conflicting denominations which have
sprung up all around us? How could such be consistent with our Lord’s heartfelt prayer in the
garden of Gethsemane: “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me
through their word; that they may all be one…” (Jn. 17:20)? The Shepherd’s clarion call is before
us. “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me, even as the Father
knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep,” (Jn. 10:14-15). There
can be no excuse for failing to recognize and respect the Lord’s church.
- There is no excuse for lukewarmness in the church. “If ye love me, ye will keep my
commandments,” (Jn. 14:15). Did he need to say, you will keep them fully? Completely?
Zealously? Is it not implied that Christians must be faithful? “I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do
nothing,” (Jn. 15:5). Much fruit. That must be more than warming a pew on Sundays. More than
“going through the motions.” It must be more than settling for what I prefer, or what I think.
There is a sense of urgency in these things – a sense that they are so important that God himself
would personally visit this earth to make them clear to us. But with clarity comes perception.
And with perception, realization. And with realization, of course, comes accountability—my
excuses are taken away!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.