Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Romans 16:16
“Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” Paul ends the book of Romans by reminding the brethren to salute or greet each other with a “holy” kiss. This was widely practiced at this time, and expressed mutual love and respect for one another. Let this verse be a reminder to us that love for the brethren is vital. It needs to be an abiding thing. We all face hardships, but our brethren’s love can help us through those times and anticipate better days. How are we doing at encouraging our brethren? In times of controversy, or peace, let us make sure we are showing love for our brethren (Jn. 13:34-35).
– Jarrod Jacobs
Jesus Marveled At The People
It is not uncommon to marvel. We might marvel at a great feat of God or man. However, to think about the Son of God marveling at something merits our attention. It is twice recorded that Jesus marveled at men. The first time is in Matthew 8:5-10. “When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes, and to another, Come, and he comes, and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I say tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.’”
The second time we read about Jesus marveling is in Mark 6:1-6. “And he went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.’ And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.”
As Jesus looks at us, does Jesus marvel at our belief or our unbelief? Faith is produced through hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17). Therefore, do we accept God’s word, or reject it? Do we believe what has been taught? Do we respect the man who stands before us and preaches the Truth, or do we want our “ears tickled” rather than the truth preached (II Tim. 4:2-4)? When reading articles like this, do you cast them aside, or do you sincerely read them and read the Scripture references with the intention of learning what the Bible says (Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:11)? Our answers to these kinds of questions reveal whether or not Jesus marvels at our belief or our unbelief.
Do we believe Jesus’ words when He says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16)? Do we believe the words of Colossians 3:16 which say, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”? Do we believe the Bible when it teaches there is only one church mentioned in the Bible — the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16)? Friends, the truth of God’s word must be believed and obeyed! When you leave this world, it will be too late. We only have here and now (II Cor. 6:2). Why will Jesus marvel at YOU?
Nothing Beyond Our Capabilities
Sometimes people think they know their capabilities better than God does. This is seen in those who will refuse to obey God, saying that they are not “able” to do what God says. What we need to understand is that God does not command us to do anything that is impossible for us to do.
In Exodus 4:10, God told Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. He said this because He knew Moses could do this. Moses responded by saying, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech, and of tongue.” Moses had the attitude of those today who think that they are not capable of doing what God said to do. As a result, Moses angered God (Ex. 4:14).
When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, Jeremiah thought that he was too young. God told him in Jeremiah 1:7-8, “Do not say I am only a youth: for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” God does not ask us to do anything beyond our capabilities!
In Matthew 25:14-30, we read about the parable of the talents. Remember that when the man had called his servants to him, he gave one servant five talents, one two talents, and the third servant, one talent. We find that while the man was gone, the first two servants made good use of their talents, gaining double their money. The third one did nothing with the money, but gave it back to his master untouched. This man was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. His money was then given to the servant who had ten talents.
Why did this happen? Was this man punished because he had less than the others and was not able to do exactly what they did? No. He was punished because he had the ability to do something with that money and refused to do it!
The spiritual application for us is that we may not be able to do what “so and so” does, but we do have abilities and must be about using them! God expects us to be useful in His kingdom by obeying all His commands (Jn. 14:15)! We dare not say we are not capable of obeying God.
Not only does God not command us to do any more than we are capable of doing, but He also will not allow our temptations and struggles to be greater than we can bear. Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted above beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Cor. 10:13).
God is concerned about the well-being of mankind. God’s word is given to us so that we might know His will and go to Heaven. He does not command us to do anything that is beyond the grasp of our physical or mental abilities (II Tim. 3:16-17; I Pet. 4:11; Phil. 4:9).
Christ Reigns Over Man Today
Our Lord Jesus Christ rules over us today. This is a fact that is lost on much of the world. After His resurrection and ascension, Christ sat down at the right hand of God to rule and reign over us. Daniel saw this day in his vision recorded in Daniel 7:13-14. The fulfillment of Daniel’s vision is seen in Acts 1:9-11 when Christ “came to” God and sat down at His right hand. Paul said that Christ is reigning now, and “must reign til he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:25-26). Since death has not been destroyed, we know Christ is reigning today.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul discusses Christ’s resurrection and ascension and says, “Which he (God) wrought in Christ, when he (God) raised him (Christ) from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). Friends, Christ reigns over us today. We may not want to think about it, some may even deny it, but when all is said and done, Christ reigns today! God told His Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom” (Heb. 1:8). Based on the truth that Christ reigns over us today, what does this mean to us?
1) It means man has no authority over himself. Jesus pronounced that He had all authority. “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If Christ has all authority in Heaven and earth, then how much does that leave for anyone else? Friend, let us be submissive to our King!
2) It means that man has no legislative power. Some take upon themselves the job of lawmaker. You see this in those who hear Christ’s words and declare, “I know the Bible says that but....” Sometimes people will hear the word of God read plainly and state, “That is your opinion.” If you or I are guilty of this, then we are trying to be the lawmaker! Friends, that job has already been taken! Christ is the lawmaker today (Jas. 4:12). His law is found in the New Testament, and will not change. It is high time we accepted it and obeyed rather than fighting against it!
3) It means that we will be punished if we do not do as the King says. Paul wrote the Thessalonians and told them that on the last day, Christ would come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and that do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:8-9). Let us not be found in rebellion against the King. Rather, let us become citizens of His Kingdom through faith in Him (Jn. 8:24), repenting of sins (Lk. 13:3), confessing our faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16). What is keeping you from doing what is right? Don’t defy your King, Jesus Christ!
“Remember Lot’s Wife”
Luke 17:32 is a short verse, and it has reference to what happened to Lot’s wife as the family fled from Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. As Lot and his family were leaving (II Pet. 2:6-9), they were warned not to look back to the city lest they “be consumed” (Gen. 19:17). And as humans are wont to do, when Lot’s wife was told not to look back, she did that very thing and “became a pillar of salt” (Gen. 19:26). Having been promised safety by God through obedience, when she sinned, she paid the penalty for her disobedience. Certainly, when we think about our lives and the experiences that we have had; we can see that remembering is vital to our not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Let us consider Lot’s wife and learn lessons from her error.
Luke 17:32 teaches us that God keeps His promises. Just as God promised destruction on whoever looked back to Sodom in Genesis 19, God has promised eternal damnation for those who do not know God and do not obey His word. Paul said, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:6-9). God has promised “rest” for the people of God (Heb. 4:9). God has also promised an eternity of living in the presence of God and Christ in Heaven to those who are His children (Jn. 14:1-6; Rev. 7:15-17). Seeing that God kept His word in the Old Testament, we know He will keep it today (Rom. 2:7-11)!
In remembering Lot’s wife, we learn that God will not allow the wicked to continue indefinitely. Sodom and Gomorrah came to an end in Genesis 19. When God was through, there was nothing left but ashes and smoke (Gen. 19:28)! The lesson we must remember is that regardless of the sin, whether “public” or “private”, God knows about it, and we will answer for it. In Numbers 32:23, we learn, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Solomon said, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). Yes, God knows when we have sinned, and we will answer for it if we do not repent and turn to God (Ecc. 12:13; Rom. 2:16; I Tim. 5:24-25; Acts 3:19)!!
By remembering Lot’s wife we learn that just because a place seems great, this does not tell you what is on the inside! Lot, in Genesis 13, “pitched his tent toward Sodom” because he saw the well-watered plain (v. 12). By Genesis 14:12, he was in the city, and by Genesis 19, he was sitting in the gate of the city. Though rich, this city was wicked because of homosexuality and simply put, they were “sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13, 19:5). This “vexed” Lot’s righteous soul (II Pet. 2:7). Yet, remember that he went there voluntarily because of the physical goods he thought he could enjoy! Let us not be fooled into thinking that physical prosperity equals spiritually soundness! Many times, it is exactly the opposite!