“God Is Just”
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” The Hebrew writer said, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). Considering the fact that God is just, and that He will judge righteously, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
The justice of God ought to be a great comfort to all those who are His children (Acts 2:38, 11:26). While men may be bribed, threatened, and otherwise coerced to make judgments in favor of certain ones, God is not like this. Regardless of social status, God is just. “Who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’ who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they all are the work of his hands?” (Job 34:18-19). Peter said, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35). David rightly said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage” (Ps. 33:12).
Seeing that God is just, life is short (Jas. 4:14), and the judgment is certain (II Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27), what have you done to make your life right with God (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)? Mr. Jefferson got it right when he considered the just nature of God and trembled. What are you doing? Are you trembling or ignoring? Think about it! Our “second chance” is right now (II Cor. 6:2)!
A Dangerous Thing: Bible Ignorance
I remember reading a news report some years ago that stated that children who lack Biblical knowledge are “at a huge educational disadvantage” in school. In an article for the Religion News Service, Helena Andrews said her findings reveal that “students without Bible knowledge take more time to teach.” In fact, the non-profit group called “Bible Literacy Project” based out of Fairfax, VA, did a similar study in which it was discovered that children who do not have a basic knowledge of Scriptures are at a significant disadvantage in school. The reason is because classic and modern literature is full of Biblical references. For instance, William Shakespeare’s works contain over 1300 Biblical references. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick begins with the statement, “Call me Ishmael” (See: Gen. 16:15). The “Bible Literacy Project” is now trying to get schools involved in an academic study of the Bible so that young people will be able to comprehend the many Biblical references that are found within our literature.
When I first read this article, I remembered a statement a dear friend of mine made. He said, “You can spend many years in school acquiring degrees, but unless you have a knowledge of the Scriptures, you are not an educated man.” This fact was stated by David in Psalm 119:98-100. The apostle made it clear that the Scriptures make one “wise for salvation” (II Tim. 3:15). Further, we must not be “foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).
Notice that when people push the Bible out of their lives, it not only affects their souls (Hos. 4:6), but other parts of their lives as well! If you wish to be truly educated, then learn and obey the words that “shall not pass away.”
Does Man Have A Sinful Nature?
This subject has probably confused and deceived more people than any other. Many of today’s “religious” people believe and teach a doctrine that says that man is born in sin. These people believe and teach a doctrine once taught by Augustine in the 400-500’s A.D., but made famous by John Calvin in the 1500’s.
Evidently, this false doctrine was taught even before Augustine or Calvin. We know this because God saw it necessary to tell the Israelites that man could not inherit sin. “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16). Even before this, God had told Cain that “sin lies at the door” for him (Gen. 4:7). If it was true that he had inherited a sinful nature from Adam, Cain should have been told that his sin was already within him! Further, God said, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer because of the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father suffer because of the iniquity of the son …” (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
Looking to the New Testament, we learn that God has not changed His mind about sin. It is the responsibility of the individual. Paul wrote, “He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Col. 3:25). James said, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:14-15). No, there is no such thing as inheriting sin from a parent, or from Adam.
All Things That Pertain To Life And Godliness
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Pet. 2:3). We are in the habit of saying that God has given us in the gospel everything that is essential to life and godliness; but Peter goes a little farther than that and affirms that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. There is a difference. To illustrate: There are certain things that are essential to an automobile; and there are other things that pertain to an automobile; but are not essential to it. When you have all things that are essential to an automobile, you can go to a supply house and purchase a lot of extras that pertain to an automobile. But suppose you have all the essentials of an automobile, and then you add all the things that pertain to an automobile, nothing else could be added that would make it any more complete. God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
Do religious people believe it? If so, why all these questions about things that God has said nothing about? If you will read the verse again, you will notice that he has given us all these things through the knowledge of Christ. The knowledge of Christ means the knowledge that has been revealed about him — the gospel of Christ. Hence, through the gospel God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but all things that pertain to life and godliness. If there is, therefore, anything in your religion that did not come to you through the gospel, it does not so much as pertain to life and godliness. Is it not time to check up on our religion and see if we have anything that we cannot find in the New Testament? Any person of intelligence can do that for himself.
Changing Names Doesn’t Change Sin
Calling a poor person “economically challenged” instead of poor does not change his financial standing, does it? Referring to someone as “vertically challenged” instead of “short” has not added “a cubit to his stature” (Matt. 7:27; Lk. 12:25) has it? We live in a time in which many people prefer such descriptions instead of speaking plainly and clearly.
Spiritually, if you call one a “good ol’ boy just wanting to have a good time” instead of a sinner, has that changed his spiritual standing in the sight of God? By no means! One who is a sinner is separated from God, and stands to lose his soul if he dies in that condition (Isa. 59:1-2; Rom. 6:23). There is nothing “good” or enjoyable about that at all, regardless of the sin in which one is engaged (drunkenness, homosexuality, drugs, unscriptural marriages, lying, etc.)!
The Caneyville church of Christ allows the Bible to speak candidly, and clearly about one’s spiritual condition (I Pet. 4:11). Who could ask for anything better than that? Just speak as the Bible speaks! Paul taught the necessity of using “great plainness of speech” (II Cor. 3:12). This was because of the hope promised to those in Christ, as well as the torment promised to those outside of Christ (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8). God wants none to perish (II Pet. 3:9). Therefore, all men need to know, not that they’re “good ol’ boys” and given a wink and a smile, but that their eternal soul rests on the decisions made today.
Make the right decision and become a Christian today before it is too late (Mk. 16:16; II Cor. 6:2).