Some Things Man Cannot EscapeThursday, March 09, 2017
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?Wednesday, March 08, 2017
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 DoTuesday, March 07, 2017
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.
Is It A Sin To Judge Others?Monday, March 06, 2017
Is It A Sin To Judge Others?
There are many today who say that we cannot “judge” another person, religiously. Those who say we cannot judge claim that to judge another is a violation of Matthew 7:1. In this passage, Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Yet, does this mean that Jesus condemned all judging? What is interesting to me is that judging seems to be accepted by people in other areas of life, just not in religion. Why is this? In my observation, I find that those who are opposed to “judging” in religion, are often the people who have been “cut to the heart” by the gospel and did not like it (Acts 2:37)! Let us learn the truth about judging. Does God prohibit man from making any kind of judgment? Let us study the Scriptures and see.
Beginning in Matthew 7:1-6, a careful reading of this Scripture shows us that Christ did not condemn or prohibit all judging. Let us read this section together.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
When we read this Scripture, it is evident that Jesus was not condemning every form of judgment. Rather, He was condemning hypocritical judgment! He told the one with the log in his eye to remove it so he could see clearly enough to help his brother with the speck in his eye. Jesus did not say, as many people imply, that the one with the log in his eye should just worry about that problem and never approach his brother about his problem. Jesus was saying to get one’s life corrected first and then he can help (i.e., judge) others with their problems. To show that Christ was not forbidding every form of judgment, please read Matthew 7:6, and ask yourself how a person can tell a dog from a hog or the holy from the unholy without judging? Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 7:15-16). How can one tell grapes from figs, or thorns from thistles without judging? Jesus said in John 7:24, “… judge righteous judgment”. Was He contradicting Himself? Of course, not!
Further, when we read of the preachers and teachers of the first century, we read where they made judgments often. John the Immerser called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers”. He also gave commands as to how they could prepare for the Messiah (Lk. 3:7-14). Peter judged the Jews when he told them that they had crucified the Son of God (Acts 2:23, 36). Paul wrote that some had “erred/swerved from the truth” (II Tim. 2:17-18). Did these men disobey Matthew 7?
The Bible says we are to “test the spirits” (I Jn. 4:1). This means put them to the test, or on trial! Not only did John tell folks to do this, but he also made a judgment in saying that there were false teachers already at work! Was he in sin?
Before someone protests by saying, “But, that was Jesus” or “That was the apostles and they are different”, let me remind you of I Corinthians 11:1 and I Peter 2:21-22. We must act as Christ and the apostles if we are to do what is right. Therefore, let us not twist Scripture. Christ condemned hypocritical judging. Let us “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24)!!
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Peter 4:11Sunday, March 05, 2017
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: I Peter 4:11
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Peter’s words closely parallel the words of Colossians 3:17. They are a reminder that in whatever we say or do, it needs to be for the glory of God! When we speak, let us speak as the oracles (utterances) of God. What has God “uttered”? We will only know when we spend time in God’s book (Eph. 3:4)! Our actions need to be a reflection of what Christ did. Christ left “us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Pet. 2:21). When we speak and act according to the will of God, we also bring glory to God. Truly, this is our reason for being here! We ought to live so as to glorify God and bring others to Him (Matt. 5:14-16). Are we speaking and acting in a way that reflects the command of I Peter 4:11? If not, why not?
- Jarrod Jacobs