May 16

What Is The Difference Between A Hypocrite And A Faithful Christian Who Stumbles At Least Once In A While?

The aim of this article is to pinpoint some of the basic difference between a thorough-going hypocrite and a faithful Christian who (although he realizes that he “stumbles” at least at times) strives with all of his heart to walk faithfully before God.
To correctly fight this battle, he must understand what it means to be (1) a hypocrite (one who pretends to be what he is not) and (2) a truly sincere, faithful Christian (a member of the Lord’s one—and only—true church—that is, one who strives with all of his heart to love God and, as a result, to do what God’s word (the Bible) teaches him to do.
It is possible for two people (for example, a husband and wife) to both learn and obey the truth (the Gospel of Christ), thus becoming Christians in so doing, and yet—with the passing of time—it is possible for either one or both of the two to fall away into unfaithfulness (by merely pretending to live as a Christian must). Consider the possibility that the wife remains faithful while the husband (without letting either his wife or any one else know about his apostasy) continues to be at every service of the church, even though it is the case that no longer does he give a serious thought to what is occurring all about him– especially does he not give serious attention to what is being said by the man who is preaching the sermon. Rather than listening with all his heart to the message, he thinks of worldly matters (such as envisioning himself being engaged in some sort of worldly (sinful) activity). A man who does such things may “fool” both his wife and many others in the assembly, but he cannot deceive God Almighty. However, he may be deceiving himself into believing that God-”-if indeed”, he says to himself, “there really is an infinite God and if the Bible really is His inspired word, then I shall be save from eternal punishment–after all, I am a religious person who attends almost all of the Sunday morning worship services. So, it is clear that I have nothing to fear, I know that God—if he exists—will not cast me into any lake of fire.” So, he sits calmly in his pew with a great deal of self-satisfaction.
At the same time, another couple (husband and wife) demonstrate (even though they are not absolutely perfect) even as they engage in singing, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, giving, or the preaching of God’s sacred word) that they not only put God ahead of everything else in their lives, but they realize that they need the mercy of God because they are not perfect—that is, it is not the case that they never sin at any time by (1) doing something which the Bible forbids or by (2) failing to do some deeds which the Bible makes clear is something which one must do to be pleasing to God.
The two couples described briefly just above can be the source of each and every one of us weighing our lives in the light of the sacred word of God, the Bible.
If any person is a hypocrite (merely pretends to be faithful), then if he/she is to be saved eternally, he/she must repent of their past sins and turn away from their wicked ways.
If any human being holds that he can deceive God into not knowing that he is living a hypocritical life, then—if he never subsequently repents (before his death)—he will be lost forever in the midst of very agonizing suffering.
Jesus made clear (Matt. 23:27-28) that every hypocrite is in very deep trouble. On the “outside” they are “beautiful” but on the “inside” they are full of mere bones and filth. Let us all help one another so that we will not be eternally punished.
It would be good for every person to thoroughly examine his own heart and deeds with the sincere intention of (1) not masking who he really is while he merely plays a part for those who observe him, (2) not acting with the desire–not to actually do what is right but merely to gain the approval of other mere human beings (see Matt. 6:1-3), (3) not being satisfied with external aspects of religion while he pays no attention to the crucial matters of love for God and his fellow human beings (Matt. 15:1-21), (4) not using the language of the Bible in such a fashion as to hide the real motives which are concealed in his heart (Matt. 22:18-22, and (5) not ignoring the marvelous teaching of Jesus by which He warns every hypocrite. May each and every one of us earnestly strive to reject all hypocritical thought and deeds.
Thomas B. Warren

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May 09

A MOTHER’S PRODUCTIVITY

It used to be that nobody could criticize motherhood, the flag or apple pie. Today some folks use the flag for kitchen curtains, Sara Lee makes the pie, and motherhood is delegated to the day care center. Productivity is the key idea. Women who have secular careers are thought to be productive, while one who makes a career of homemaking is made to feel inferior and unproductive.
A worthy mother is a treasure that is never forgotten. There were times I hated my mother: Funny though—I can’t remember why. I do however, remember that she rocked me. I remember that she read me “The Pokey Little Puppy.” I remember her going to school with me the first day—and crying at my wedding. Mom sacrificed for us. She hung out the sheets when the West Texas wind had frozen them stiff as boards, She got up with us in the night, worried when we were out too late. She cooked our breakfast and dragged us out of bed to eat it thanklessly. The pain of child-bearing doesn’t stop with labor, but the pain of a worthy mother has its reward:

Her children rise up and bless her,
Her husband also, and he praises her.
Charm is deceitful but a woman who fears the
Lord shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her….
Proverbs 31:28-31

A good mother deserves honor, whether the mother who bore you, or the mother who bore your children. You are the product of her labors. Let the product be a credit to her.
Jerry D. Lee

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/a-mothers-productivity/

May 02

Old Law, New Law, Both, or Neither?

When General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texans were no longer under subjection to the laws of Mexico. Although, no doubt, copies of that law were still in their land, they were now to be under the new law of the Republic of Texas.
When Jesus defeated Satan by His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation and establishment of His kingdom, no longer was any man to be in subjection to the law of Moses. Although copies of that law still exist, man is now under subjection to the new law of Christ.
Colossians 2:14 makes clear that the old law is no longer in effect. It states that Jesus blotted it out. In those days people would use a pointed tool to etch letters upon a heavily waxed board. If corrections were to be made, a spoon-shaped tool would rub out the letters. Such removal was “blotting out.” Thus, Jesus rubbed out the old law—it was removed. The verse also declares that Jesus took the old law “out of the way.” Thus, it is no longer an obstacle on man’s pathway—it is gone. Furthermore, the verse reveals that Jesus nailed the old law to the cross. Thus, just as Jesus died upon the cross, so did the old law. It was dead–ineffective. No, the old law is no longer in effect, and we do not obtain our religious laws nor authority from it.
Galatians 3:19 also teaches that the old testament law has ended. It states that the old covenant was to be in effect “till the seed should come.” Thus, when the seed came, the law ended. Who was that seed? That seed was Christ (v.16). And Christ has come.
Yes, the old law has been taken out of the way. However, some people have erroneously concluded that such verses teach that ALL religious law has been taken away. Thus, they claim, we are under grace, not law. They then proceed to do in religion whatever they want—after all, there’s no law. Yet, and quite contrary, the Bible teaches that we ARE under a law–the law of Christ. Notice these revealing phrases: “…fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2); “…under the law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21); “…the perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25); “… the law of the Spirit of life in Christ” (Rom. 8:2). Yes, the old law has been taken out of the way, and the new law is now in effect.
Someone might ask, “If this is so, then why do we still have the Old Testament in our Bibles?” The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (see also: Rom. 15:4; Jude 5).
So, which law are we under today?–old law, new law, neither or both? Today, you and I are amenable and only amenable to the law of Christ–the New Testament.
Gary Henson

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Apr 25

TO APPLAUD OR NOT TO APPLAUD IN WORSHIP

To “profane” something is to take that which is holy and treat it as common. This is the reason I don’t applaud in worship unto God.
Worship to the Almighty, Eternal, Sovereign God is unique, in a class by itself. (1) Only in the Lord’s Supper do we eat a meal that is not designed to satisfy physical hunger. It was eaten purely as a memorial, after the disciples had already eaten the passover feast. Meals eaten at holidays in our time are feasts designed to satisfy our physical hunger. (2) In worship we pray to God. It is a solemn and serious occasion. But we do not pray to Elvis to celebrate his birthday. (3) In giving, we are to do so cheerfully, not grudgingly, as God has prospered us. The I.R.S. does not require this attitude when we pay our taxes. Also, the Lord does not specify in dollars and cents, but the I.R.S. does. (4) In singing to God we are to “make melody in the heart” (Col. 3:16). This is not required when singing at a secular event. (5) In preaching, we must preach only the truth. But in social and political speeches there is no such requirement. One can even make inflammatory speeches against the government.
If clapping is a scriptural form of worship, couldn’t the Lord have thought of it?

ARGUMENTS FOR CLAPPING IN WORSHIP

  1. “If we would clap to celebrate a ball game, how much more does Jesus deserve our applause?” Reply: this is not the way scriptural authority is established. That can only be established from Scripture. If we can eat popcorn to celebrate a ball game, how much more should we eat popcorn in worship to God? (Don’t blame me for the absurdity of any of these arguments. I am only showing what else it “proves” if the arguments are valid.) If we can eat black-eyed peas and hog jowl to celebrate New Year’s Day, how much more should we eat these in worship to God? (I hesitate to make these arguments since some already have coffee and donuts in Bible classes. So far, they haven’t gone “whole hog” and said we can have these in the worship assembly.) If we would pull pranks to celebrate April Fool’s Day, how much more should we pull pranks in worship unto God? If we shoot fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, how much more should we shoot fireworks to celebrate our independence from sin and the Law of Moses? If we play “Pin The Tale On The Donkey” to celebrate our children’s birthdays, how much more should we do so to celebrate our Lord’s birth? If we take the day off from work to celebrate Labor Day, how much more should we take the Lord’s Day off to celebrate that we are laborers in the vineyard of the Lord?
    Had enough? How about one more. If we wear false faces to celebrate Halloween, how much more should we wear false faces in worship? All of these are consequence of not basing an argument on Scripture but on human reasoning from secular events.
  2. “Applause means the same as saying ‘Amen.’” Reply: According to what standard of authority? It never meant that in the Bible. When a curse was pronounced by the priest upon an adulteress she was to respond by saying “Amen, Amen” (Num. 5:11-31). If clapping is another way of saying “Amen” it is difficult to imagine the woman applauding when a curse was pronounced upon her.
    Moses pronounced twelve curses on the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. After each curse Israel was to respond “Amen” (Deut. 27:15-26). Could they have substituted a round of applause and been acceptable to God? Would it be acceptable for us to close our prayers with a round of applause instead of an audible “Amen” (1 Cor. 14:16)? Most of the epistles end with an “Amen.” How do you communicate hand clapping in writing? This shows that something is being communicated in writing that there is no equivalent for. There is no record where “Amen” was used in a secular way. It is a word which belongs to the spiritual realm. Clapping belongs in the secular realm and is associated with sports and entertainment. There is a good reason for this since clapping is never mentioned in the New Testament.
    Webster’s definition of applause includes cheering and stomping the feet. Those who defend clapping must of necessity depend these also.
  3. “If we can change the holy kiss to a handshake (Rom. 16:16), then we can change ‘Amen’ to applause.” Reply: The Bible does not command the kiss as a form of greeting. Paul was not instituting kissing as the proper way to greet. The custom of kissing was a form of greeting or endorsement and had been practiced for thousands of years (Exod. 18:7; 1 Sam. 10:1; etc.), so Paul was not beginning a new practice. He was regulating the attitude with which this custom was practiced. It was not a command to kiss. The emphasis was on the kind of kiss. It was not be a hypocritical kiss, like that of Judas (Mk. 14:44) or of Joab (2 Sam. 20:9). Nor was it to be a lascivious kiss (Gal. 5:19-21), but a holy one. Whatever form of greeting is the custom at a particular time and place, it should be pure.

BOOING AND HISSING?
If one may applaud a sermon to show approval (as one may show approval in this manner at a ball game), then why could not one equally boo or hiss to show disapproval if he disagrees? In a matter of time our services would be filled with applause (including stomping the feet), wolf whistles, cat calls, boos, and hisses. The right for one is the right for the others. If the silence of the New Testament authorizes applause then it also authorizes boos, hisses, jeers, etc. Is this really what we want? Has worship become so casual to us that there is no difference in our behavior and degree of solemnity at worship or at an entertainment event?
Perhaps unwittingly, brethren have bought into the idea advanced in debate by some defenders of instrumental music in worship, that “worship is a right thing to do and there is no wrong way to do it” (Given O. Blakely, Blakely-Highers Debate). Since the Scriptures are silent about applause, and nothing is said to indicate that clapping is an acceptable substitute for saying “Amen,” and since it is also silent about booing, hissing, etc., we believe we have concluded rightly that God does not approve either practice in worship or in a religious context.
Dick Blackford

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Apr 18

EXTENDING KINDNESS

Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life. God would have us to be kind toward others. He commands us, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God…kindness” (Col. . 3:12). We are to be kind to our brethren in Christ (Rom. 12:10) as well as total strangers. (See example in Acts 28:2).
Kindness is not kindness until it is shown. The Kenites showed kindness to the Hebrews (1 Sam. 15:6) as well as the men of Jabesh-gilead toward Saul (2 Sam. 2:5).
Kindness also begets kindness. In both examples above in which kindness was extended, they received kindness in return. The person who is kind, is a person who lives in a kind world.
Gary Henson

GREAT RESULTS
The account of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 teaches that in order to have great results (Mt. 8:13), one must have great faith (Mt. 8:10), which is developed by great desire (Lk. 7:2), great humility (Lk. 7:6-7), great hearing (Lk. 7:3), great action (Lk. 7:13) and great trust in God’s power (Lk. 7:7-8).
Gary Henson

What Do You Do For Fun?
Several years ago a very sweet Christian girl told me about an incident with a young man who had been asking to date her. He was not a member of the church, and they just didn’t have anything in common. She had turned him down twice, and now she said “no” to attending a rock concert with him.
In mock exasperation the young man asked, “What do you do for fun? You don’t dance. You don’t drink. You don’t go to rock concerts. What do you do for fun?”
Her response was a classic message for all Christians with conviction. She told him, “For fun I get up in the morning without feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and guilty about what I did the night before.” The young man had nothing more to say.
It’s true. That is fun! Come to think of it, there are many things in her life that are fun. She is married now to a fine Christian man. They have a little girl and are building an outstanding Christian home together.
She is having fun every day not having to live with the affliction of deep scars and regrets from her past. It is fun getting ready each afternoon to welcome her husband home from work, knowing that he won’t be stopping off for a few drinks with the guys on his way. It is fun knowing that while he is away from her, his Christian conduct won’t allow infidelity, or even flirting.
It is fun watching him hold their little girl on his lap with loving, protecting arms. It is fun knowing that their little girl will never see her father in a drunken stupor or experimenting with drugs. It is fun living with the assurance that the home will be led by a spiritual leader who will guide the family members toward heaven.
The list of fun things for Christian is endless. What do you do for fun?
Jack W. Carter

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Apr 11

THE LORD’S CHURCH

It is the heart’s desire1 of the members of the Lord’s church2 to glorify God3 by living obediently4 to His5 every Word6, and strive7 to save the lost8 by teaching the soul-saving Gospel9 and living the light-shining example.10

1Matt 22:37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Acts 11:23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

21 Cor 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

3Rom 15:6 That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 3:21 To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

4Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Heb 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

5John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

6Matt 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

2 Cor 2:9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

7Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.

8Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.

9Eph 3:10 To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

10Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15 Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Gary Henson

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Apr 04

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPEDIENCY

In the Bible, there are commands which are specific and there are commands which are generic. That is, sometimes God not only tells us WHAT to do, He also tells us HOW to do it. Such is a specific command. An example of this is the command to baptize. We are told what to do (to immerse) and we are told how to do it (in water). If God had simply told us to baptize and had made no reference to the element of which we were to use, then this would have been a generic command and it would have been left up to our discretion as to what element would be best to use (such as: sand, leaves, milk, water, etc.).
On the other hand God sometimes tells us WHAT to do but does not tell us specifically HOW to do it. This is a generic command. An example of this is the command, “Go ye into all the world” (Mark 16:15). The apostles were told what to do (go), but how to go was left up to human judgment. Thus, they could obey this command by using a boat, car, train, jet, etc. However, if God would have said, “Go by walking,” then this would have been a specific command and the only way to obey God and be pleasing to Him would be to walk to take the Gospel.
In the above example of Mark 16:15, the means of carrying out the HOW to go falls in the realm of expediency. However, it is crucial to understand that an expedient is that which expedites (aids) the carrying out of some obligation which has already been scripturally authorized by (1) explicit statements, (2) implicit statements or (3) approved accounts of action. [Note: Obviously, an expedient must not be prohibited by other Scriptures.]
Unfortunately, expediency has been used as a “catch all” department in which to list anything that is not authorized by any of the other three means of authorization. Some seem to reason, “Well, I realize that we can’t find any verses which teach that we can do this, but it seems to help the cause of Christ so much that it must be expedient.” To reason in this manner is to display a complete and a critical misunderstanding of expediency. If such contention were true, then there would be absolutely no limits to what could be done. By this line of thinking, a congregation could open a bar in a classroom claiming it to be an expedient because it would bring in people whom we could later teach. Someone might say, “We wouldn’t let it get that far. The line has to be drawn somewhere.” But, if the contention is true (that if it helps the cause, then it is expedient) then no line can be drawn! Certainly we can see the error in the attempt to define expediency as anything that seems to help the cause of Christ.
To understand what an expedient is, is to realize that a line has been drawn and that the one who drew it was God. As previously stated: an expedient is that which aids the carrying out of that which has already been scripturally authorized. For example: (1) We have the obligation to baptize. An expedient to this is the construction of a baptistery in the building. First we have the obligation then we determine the expedient. We have the obligation to assemble ourselves together. An expedient is a building in which to meet. (3) Obligation: sing. Expedient: song books, song leader, tuning fork. (4) Obligation: teach the lost. Expedient: film strips; various other methods. Again, first there is the obligation, then there is the expedient. Where there is no obligation, there is no expedient.
Let us be careful that in our zeal we do not become mesmerized and careless so as to go beyond what and how God has authorized (2 John. 9-11). Eternity is worth the effort.
Gary Henson

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Mar 28

Acts 22:16 and Baptism

Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, was a persecutor of the church. Upon one such crusade, as he was on his way to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him in a great light. The confrontation convinced Saul that Jesus was indeed the Christ. In deep remorse, Saul neither ate nor drank for three days. Jesus then told a disciple named Ananias to go to Saul. It was during that meeting Saul was told, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
This is what the Scriptures say, but what does it mean? It means: (1) Saul had believed on Jesus; (2) but he still had sin; (3) and it took his obedience in baptism to cleanse him from his sins. So, it means what it says, and it says what it means.
However, many today have been told that Saul’s sins were washed away at faith and before baptism. But, if Saul was already saved and his sins were already forgiven before and without baptism, then: (1) Saul did not know it, because he did that which Ananias told him to do (Acts 9:18); (2) Ananias did not know it, because he told Saul to be baptized for the very purpose of having his sins removed (Acts 22:16); (3) Jesus did not know it, because He told Ananias what to say; (4) the Holy Spirit did not know it, because He inspired the writing of Acts 22:16. If Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the two people who were the very ones involved in this incident knew that one’s sins are not removed until one is baptized, then why would we possibly want to believe what some man today says to the contrary?! Since we are going to be judged by the words of Jesus (John 12:48), we must believe and follow what He says.
Saul was baptized for the purpose of having his sins removed. It is crucial for people today to realize that one must be baptized for that purpose! If a person was told to believe to be saved from sin and be baptized later for some other reason (such as: to join the church), then one was not baptized for the purpose of having his sins washed away. Thus, his sins were not washed away, nor are they yet.
While one is still living, it is not too late to heed the words of Jesus. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.”

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/1768-2/

Mar 22

THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

When pollsters survey a population with the question, “Do you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God?” the majority (in this country) answer “Yes.” However, when asked of their idea regarding its inspiration, the replies are quite diverse: “In thought, but not in word;” “Some of it is, but some of it isn’t;” “It is a moment of human genius, but nothing supernatural.” In spite of the confusion of human opinion, the Bible is quite clear concerning its inspiration.
The Bible clearly reveals the definition of inspiration. In Matthew 10:18-20, as Jesus sent out the twelve men to preach, He warned them that they would be unkindly examined by evil men in high places, and then He consoled them with these words: “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Although the men’s tongues and larynxes would be that which physically produced the words, the mind that was selecting the words was that of the Holy Spirit. Inspiration was not a mere moment of human genius, it was the speaking of God.
The Bible clearly reveals that the words as well as the thoughts are inspired. In First Corinthians 2:9-13, Paul states that God revealed the things (thoughts) unto the Apostles, “which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” Thus, when God revealed thoughts to the Apostles, they spoke those thoughts, not in their own words, but in the words which the Holy Spirit gave them. No, God did not merely inspire the Apostles with only the thought and left the wording up to them. Rather, both the thoughts and the words are God’s.
The Bible clearly reveals that all of the Bible is inspired. Second Timothy 3:16 states that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….” “All” not “some.” When Jesus mentioned “the law of Moses, …the prophets, and in the psalms” He was referring to the entire Old Testament [as this was the Jewish reference to its three-fold division] (Luke 24:44). The next verse then describes it as “the Scriptures” –writings of God. If only parts of the Bible were inspired, how would we know which parts were which? Such reduces the Bible to guess work and confusion–something of which a perfect, flawless God would not do (John 8:31-32; 1 Cor. 14:33). Thus, if any part of the Bible is inspired, then by necessity, all of it is inspired.

If the pollsters would survey the Bible and those who know the above truths, their report would yield: 100% believe that the Bible is inspired of God; God is the author in its entirety in both thoughts and words.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-inspiration-of-the-bible/

Mar 15

“PRE-PICKED”

A certain college had two geography teachers.  As each received a list of their students before the new classes met, the first teacher went through the list assigning each student a final grade of either passing or failing.  However, the second teacher made a list of class requirements (weekly tests, a grading scale, mid-term and final exams) to which all the students would be equally subjected.  It was then up to each student to meet the requirements which would determine whether they passed or failed.  Thus, the first teacher pre-picked the students, while the second teacher pre-picked classification of students who, on their  own, fulfill the requirements which are to be met.

While it is easy to see the gross injustice of the method of the first teacher, there are many in religion who assign such a method to God.  The doctrine is called predestination.  Its advocates claim that God, before the creation of the world and the existence of man, pre-picked the eternal and unchangeable destiny of each and every soul.  That is, before you came into being, and before you had the opportunity to prove what kind of person you would be, your eternal destiny had already been decided—and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it.

However, such makes God out to be like that first teacher—an unjust judge.  But we know that God is a just judge.1 Predestination also implies that God is imperfect in that He does that which is meaningless.  That is, if each person’s eternal destiny had already been pre-picked, then why did God go to such great extent for 1500 years to produce the Bible, …send people to preach to the lost, …actually, why did God even make the earth in the first place!—just send the elected to heaven and the rest to hell! But we know that God is not an imperfect God who does that which is meaningless.2

Predestination teaches that it is God’s will (choosing) that some be saved and some be lost; but the Bible teaches that it is God’s will that all be saved.3  Predestination teaches that God is a respecter of persons; but the Bible teaches that He is not a respecter of persons.4  Predestination teaches that man does not have a choice; but the Bible teaches that man does have a free-will to choose his eternal destiny (by complying with the conditions of God).5

It is claimed that Ephesians 1:4-11 teaches predestination.  But notice, verse four (as well as eleven) makes clear that this predestining is done “according to the good pleasure of his will.”  So the question is, what is God’s will in the matter of eternal destiny?  Is His will like that of the first teacher—to pre-pick souls?  Or is it like the second—to pre-pick the classification of students who, on their  own, fulfill the requirements which are to be met?  Our answer is not left up to guesswork – – we are clearly told, God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).  Thus, it is not God’s will, not His choosing, not His pre-picking that any should be eternally lost.  Rather, it is His will that all repent – – which is a requirement that God has given to be met by man in order to obtain eternal heaven.6

Of a truth, our God is a perfect and just God who has predetermined the requirements to be met by the free-willed man in order to obtain eternity in heaven.  May you, out of a love for God and your soul, choose to follow those requirements.7

Gary Henson

Endnotes for the article

1Zephaniah 3:5;

Isaiah 45:21;

Psalm 96:13;

Revelation 19:11.

2Deuteronomy 32:4;

2 Samuel 22:31;

Psalm 18:30.

31 Timothy 2:3-4;

2 Peter 3:9.

4Romans 2:11;

Acts 10:34-35.

5Joshua 24:15;

Matthew 23:37;

Revelation 22:17.

62 Corinthians 7:10;

Luke 13:3,5.

71) Hear the Gospel [Rom. 10:14];

2) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God [John 8:24];

3) Repent of your sins [2 Cor. 7:10];

4) Confess faith in Jesus [Rom. 10:9-10];

5) Be baptized for the forgiveness of sins [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21].  One then must remain faithful to God’s teachings in the Bible [Rev. 2:10].

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