Some Things Man Cannot Escape
In our society, we are used to people “getting away” with certain things, aren’t we? It has become almost commonplace to hear about a person hiring a “dream team” of lawyers so as to avoid criminal charges and prosecution. Closer to home, we may notice people “getting away” with theft by eating displayed food at the grocery store without buying it; or taking extra time on their breaks at work and getting paid for it. Perhaps someone we know has been dishonest (lying). Don’t men tend to ignore this sin? It seems that we have reared a society which thinks that we can escape certain sins by ignoring them and no one is the wiser. Is this really the case?
God says there are things we cannot escape in this life no matter how hard we try! Just like Adam and Eve could not escape God (Gen. 3:7-10); just like Jonah could not escape God (Jonah 1:3-17, ch. 2); neither can we escape God (Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13; Ecc. 12:14; Rom. 2:16)! Nor can we escape the truth He has revealed.
We have reared a society of people who are under the impression that they can “bury” their sins deep enough that no one will find out about them. Sometimes, folks have the idea that they can somehow escape the consequences of sin if they pay enough money, run far enough away, deny it, etc. In truth, this is not possible! “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23)! We need to understand that we cannot escape sin independently of Christ and His shed blood (Rom. 6:3-6; Acts 2:38, 22:16)! Whether we are discussing the physical or the spiritual consequences of sin, we cannot escape without Christ! Lest we forget, go back and read Romans 6:23, which tells us, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In addition to this, God compares physical sowing and reaping with spiritual sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7-8. Be sure, there will be a “bitter harvest” awaiting us if we have sown a life of sin and have not repented nor have been forgiven!
As hard as men try to avoid it via medicines, vitamins, exercise, food choices, etc., we also know that we cannot escape death! (Heb. 9:27). Death was something God promised as a physical consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:19) and it continues to this day. Solomon put it this way: “The living know that they shall die” (Ecc. 9:5a)! How true this is! In fact, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26). Therefore, be assured we will not escape death because it will be with us until the Lord returns!
Further, let us remember that there is a Judgment Day coming in which all mankind will be judged by Christ (Acts 17:30-31; Jn. 5:22). Just like death, no one will escape this event! How do I know this? I know this because the Bible reveals this truth to us (Ecc. 12:13-14; Matt. 25:31-33, 46; II Cor. 5:10).
Can there be any question as to the coming Judgment? Can there be any question as to who is going to be there? We will all be present before Christ in Judgment (II Cor. 5:10). The question is: “Are you ready?” If not, why not?
Yes, some things we cannot escape! Yet, we can come through anything successfully when we are in Christ. Are you in Him? (Eph. 1:7-13; Gal. 3:26-27)
What Is Man’s True Value?
If anyone wants to know his actual value, consider the value God and Satan have placed upon you. You see, by words and actions, they have placed a value or worth upon each one of us. What is it?
We get a good idea of what Satan thinks man is worth in Matthew 4. Read Matthew 4:1-11 (or Luke 4:1-13) for the entire context. We will focus upon Matthew 4:8-9. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to him, All these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Perhaps we have read this before and wondered what use Christ would have with buildings, gold, silver, etc. The truth is, He has no use for such things (Ps. 50:10; Acts 17:24-25). In truth, Satan, being the “god of this world”, “the prince of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air” (II Cor. 4:8-9; Jn. 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Eph. 2:2) was not offering Jesus buildings and lands, but was offering Him the people, the souls who occupied those lands!
Put simply, Christ was offered every soul’s subjection by Satan. Christ was tempted to avoid the cross, the suffering, the rejection, etc., by worshipping Satan! Think about it: This is Satan’s estimation of every person! He would gladly give away every person on earth if he could just have Christ as his servant! To him, you and I are but pawns in his twisted, selfish work.
God’s estimate of man’s value is far different. Instead of looking for things He might consider more “valuable” than us, God sent His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for us (Jn. 3:16). This sacrifice was first promised in Genesis 3:15. This “theme” of redemption echoes throughout the pages of the Bible. God’s redemption for man is offered to us out of love and mercy so that we do not die in our sins (Matt. 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8).
When Jesus stood before Pilate, He declared that He had come into this world to die (Jn. 18:36-37). His sacrifice was a selfless sacrifice. He gave Himself to die on the cross so that the souls of humanity could be saved from sin (I Pet. 1:18-19). Is there not a clearer contrast between Satan’s estimation of man and God’s?
Now that we understand Satan’s and God’s estimation of our value, why are we continuing to fall into Satan’s snares (Jas. 1:14-15; I Jn. 2:15-17)? Satan does not love us. He is a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He lurks and hunts for folks to devour (I Pet. 5:8). He makes sin seem so sweet, lovely, and fulfilling; yet it is full of rottenness and filth (Heb. 11:26; II Pet. 2:19-22).
Let us stop falling for his lies. Let us open our eyes and see the truth. God loves us and has provided the best for us. He has given us a way to be saved (Mk. 16:16), and if we will be faithful for our short lives (Jas. 4:14), we can enjoy an eternity in Heaven (Rev. 2:10; II Tim. 4:6-8; Rom. 8:16-18; II Cor. 4:17). While on earth, we can see that we are blessed people when we belong to Him (Eph. 1:3; I Pet. 3:10-12). We are truly valuable to God. To Him, we are priceless; to Satan, we are worthless! Why not leave sin and selfishness and follow the only One who believes we have real value.
We Are What We Repeatedly Do
The title for this article is part of a longer quote. When we think about the statement, “We are what we repeatedly do”, it states the truth. Our habits have a great impact on our lives. More than this, I see this statement as a good explanation for “why” God emphasizes the need for man being faithful to Him.
Throughout the New Testament, we read about the need for God’s people to continue to follow Christ with obedient faith. Inherent in this is the need for patience, or endurance, as well as strength and courage when times get hard. Let us read some of these passages together.
- “… the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22, 24:13).
- “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jn. 10:27).
- “To those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Rom. 2:7).
- “Note then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness to you. Provided you continue in his kindness” (Rom. 11:22).
- “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).
- “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give not” (Gal. 6:9).
- “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Tim. 4:16).
- “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb. 3:5-6).
- “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (Jas. 1:25).
- “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son, and in the Father” (I Jn. 2:24).
- “… be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
From these passages, we see a pattern, do we not? God wants us to continue in a certain manner of life. Why? It is because “We are what we repeatedly do.” The man or woman who dies in sin has done so because he or she lived in sin (Jn. 8:24; Col. 3:7). In contrast, the man or woman who dies in the Lord (Rev. 14:13) has done so because he or she lived in the Lord!
Thus, the question must be asked: “What do we repeatedly do?” If we do not like what we are becoming, then it is time to stop what we are currently doing and start doing something else — repeatedly until the habit is formed!
The full quote from which I got the title for this article comes from Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). He said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Now, pay attention to the rest of the quote. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
May we appreciate just how true these words are. May we also then resolve to make excellence a habit by making the ultimate decision to become a Christian (Acts 2:38) and live faithfully to the God of Heaven (I Cor. 15:58). A life spent in repeatedly doing what God says will not be a wasted life.
The Truth Written In Three Languages
Four times in New Testament Scripture we read about the written statement that Pilate wrote and placed above Christ when He hung on the cross. (Matt. 27:37; Mk. 15:26; Lk. 23:38; Jn. 19:19). The statement over Him declared that it was “The King of the Jews” being crucified that day. While the chief priests protested this statement, demanding that Pilate instead write, “This man said, I am the King of the Jews”, Pilate stood firm saying, “What I have written, I have written” (Jn. 19:21-22).
In studying this event, we see that the inscription was written in three languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. This is significant, for regardless of who might have been present that day in Jerusalem, those who looked upon Christ on the cross could have read the writing. Why was this statement written in those three languages so significant? Please consider the following:
- The Hebrew language was the language of revelation. God’s word had come to the world through the Hebrew people up to this time (Genesis-Malachi).
- The Greek language was the language of the philosophers and “great thinkers” of the day such as Plato and Aristotle.
- The Latin language was the language of government and power. This is the language that Caesar and Pilate, as well as others, spoke within the Roman government.
Therefore, this writing posted above Christ on the cross was a world-wide announcement! When we with our mind’s eye look to the cross, we see a Suffering Savior who was pronounced as “King of the Jews” by the Roman governor Pilate, to the population of the entire world!
In truth, we see that Pilate’s writing had a greater meaning than perhaps even he realized. What do we mean by this? Consider once more the statement written in the languages of revelation, philosophy, and power. Certainly, our Lord Jesus Christ is the embodiment of these things. For example, we see that Christ being the embodiment of the Word (Jn. 1:1) shows us that He is God’s revelation. In “times past” God spoke to men in various ways, but now speaks to us today through his Son (Heb. 1:1-2; Matt. 17:5).
In addition to this, Christ is also able to discern the uttermost thoughts of men’s hearts (Jn. 2:24-25, 6:64). This makes Him greater than any philosopher on earth. His doctrine is the greatest philosophy ever revealed! Third, Jesus Christ is revealed as the lawgiver (Jas. 4:12; Gal. 6:2). He revealed “the perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25); that which will lead us to Heaven. No one before or since has been able to accomplish or give as much as Christ.
Pilate may not have realized how true and far-reaching his writing was when he wrote it. Yet, the statement is still true! Today, we who are Christians had our sins forgiven when we accepted Christ’s terms of salvation (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; etc.). At the same time, we who are His children are the recipients of God’s blessings (Eph. 1:3) when we listen to the revelation, apply His true philosophies, and obey His law (Eph. 3:4; Rev. 1:5, 22:14)! If we want to have salvation from sin and look forward to an eternal life in Heaven, then let us stop rejecting the Lord. Let us follow what the Lord says unconditionally, knowing that He is the One who possesses all authority “in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17). He is our king (Rev. 17:14, 19:16; I Tim. 6:15), and wants us in Heaven with Him.
Getting An Answer You Don’t Want
An old saying often repeated is: “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” In like manner, be careful when asking a question, you just might get an answer that you do not want! Is this not what happened when the rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what to do to inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:16)? Jesus answered him, but the man received an answer he did not want, and so he abandoned Jesus (Matt. 19:22).
What about us? Do we sometimes get an answer from God’s word that we do not want? How do we react when we learn that a thing we have been doing (or would like to do) is not authorized of God in the Bible? Do we become defiant, saying, “I’m going to do it anyway”? Do we get mad, or sad? Do we say, “That doesn’t make sense to me”? Such responses do not change what God said. Getting mad, sad, protesting, or substituting our ideas for God’s does not change what has been written. Let us take a moment and examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5). How do we react to God when His answers are not what we want?
For example, some do not like God’s answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” The Lord’s answer is to have faith in Christ, repent of sin, confess our faith in Christ, and be baptized (Heb. 11:6; Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:10; I Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:22-38; etc.). Will you accept God’s answer to this important question, or will you turn away like the man in Matthew 19?
Some ask, “What kind of music does God accept in worship?” God’s answer is vocal music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; Jas. 5:13; etc.). Yet, this is not the answer men give to us! Therefore, whose answer will we accept? God’s or man’s?
Others ask, “Did Christ really establish one church?” The answer from Scripture is that Christ promised to establish a church (Matt. 16:18), and this church began on the Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:41, 47). Before Acts 2, the church was spoken of in promise, but after Acts 2, the church was spoken of as being in existence on earth. This church belongs to Him and not man (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28). This is the Lord’s answer. However, is this the answer we want, or the one we have been taught? When was your church established?
Another common question asked is whether or not the kingdom is in existence. Jesus said the kingdom was “at hand” when He was on earth (Matt. 4:17). He promised some would not “taste of death” until they saw the “kingdom of God come with power” (Mk. 9:1). He equated the kingdom with the church in Matthew 16:19. Thus, the kingdom was brought into existence in Acts 2 when folks heard the gospel, believed, obeyed it and were saved (Acts 2:36-41). As further proof of the kingdom’s existence, the apostle Paul said folks who are saved are “transplanted” into this kingdom (Col. 1:13). The apostle John said he was in the kingdom (Rev. 1:9).
These and many other questions are answered by God in the Bible. Therefore, what is the proper response when we get an answer from God’s word that we do not want? The answer is to be honest, and accept what the Lord says (Jer. 10:23; Col. 3:17). There are times when God’s answers do not make “sense” to us, but this does not give us license to change the answer (Rom. 3:4). Let us submit our will to God’s, and let us be ready to accept what He says always (I Pet. 4:11), knowing that God’s ways are best (Isa. 55:8-9; I Cor. 1:20-31).