Weekly Bulletin Articles
I never saw that coming
Yesterday I drove many miles to purchase something, never anticipating that the person would ignore my messages when I arrived. I feel a bit silly now, but the consequences — a day without study, a day without seeing much of my wife and children, and the sunk costs — are mine to bear.
When I returned home, my dog had been banished to the backyard for eating butter off the counter. Later I caught her trying to get something off the table. The consequences were hers to bear.
The confluence of these events brought to mind a conversation I had with a good brother recently. It concerned Ananias and Sapphira and their divine punishment for lying (Acts 5:1-10). As they were conspiring (see Acts 5:2, 9), I’m confident that they never saw death as a potential consequence.
Nadab and Abihu’s strange fire brought swift action (Leviticus 10:1, 2), as did Uzzah’s split-second decision to steady the Ark (2 Samuel 6:6, 7). I’m comforted in the thought that physical punishment does not necessarily imply spiritual punishment. Even so, death is the highest of physical judgments. Surely these men did not contemplate death as the consequence for their actions.
Likewise, we assume Adam and Eve did not foresee the consequences that would arise from their disobedience. Adam was certainly warned (Genesis 2:17), but what is death to one who has never seen it? Even if Adam had an inkling of that, he could not have anticipated how that punishment would actually be meted out: separation from God, eviction from the garden, denial of the tree of life. The result was a life of physical toil and difficulty, all while the spiritual connection with his Creator was forever altered.
It is important to state that just because we cannot anticipate consequences does not mean they are unjust. Adam was warned that he would be punished, he did not heed that warning. God gave instructions concerning the ark (Numbers 3:27-31; 4:15; 7:9), these were ignored. The failing is not in God’s judgments, but in our appreciation of them. Sin is so grave that the world is full of graves. Sin is heinous, and the fallout of sin is often very severe.
The repercussions are not just ours to bear. Many times others suffer or are blessed by the results of our actions. Surely Adam could not have fathomed the deep impact he would make upon all people who have ever lived (see Romans 5). The deaths of Nadab and Abihu demonstrated God’s holiness, and the reverence one must have when approaching him in worship (Leviticus 10:3). The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira brought a fearful respect upon the whole church and the world at-large. It demonstrated, among other things, that God could not be fooled, and that false honor is no honor at all.
The men who chose to follow Jesus suffered many physical hardships as a result of their choices. Yet they were so tremendously blessed spiritually. And the resulting effect of their decisions for all of us cannot be overstated.
Weigh carefully the decisions you make. Some decisions may appear important at first glance, but may not have a significant impact upon your life or the lives of others. Other choices will have a profound impact upon your life and the lives of those you love.
When our lives here are over, it will be tragic indeed to find ourselves in great torment thinking, “I never saw that coming.” But what a beautiful thought to be in paradise with people who helped us, or who we helped, get to glory.
“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” (1 Tim. 4:16 KJV).
“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4, NKJV).
When Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ with faith and hope, we often turn to Jesus’ promise in John 14:1-4 to bring us to a place prepared for us in our Father’s mansion. We may also turn to Revelation 20 and 21 where Heaven is described as a great city with gates of pearl, streets of gold, and wonderful blessings for those who will inhabit it eternally. The concept of “inheritance” naturally complements the idea of the Father’s estate which his children will receive. That is both Biblical and a source of great comfort and encouragement.
But Paul presents a slightly different perspective on that eternal inheritance in 2 Corinthians 5. Here the words house, building, and tent refer not to separate structures in which we live now or will live eternally. Rather they are metaphors for our bodies. This earthly house (verse 1) in which we live is mortal and temporary. It is described as a tent, such as the ancestors of the Jews lived in during the days of the Patriarchs. Those tents were portable, fragile, and offered only marginal shelter and security. Our physical bodies share all those characteristics.
But when those bodies are laid aside, God will give us new bodies that are heavenly, immortal, and eternal (verse 4). Given the idyllic conditions of heaven, dwelling places as such may well be unnecessary – our immortal, spiritual bodies will equip us for every need. (This is not to say that there will be no structures; those may serve other purposes than mere shelter and comfort).
The young may not be able to appreciate the blessing of a perfect immortal body to replace this human tent in which our souls live on earth. However, those who experience the pains, weaknesses, and debilitations of aging bodies can appreciate Paul’s description of our groaning to be unclothed from this worn-out tent so that it may be replaced with a beautiful new habitation for the soul which will be given by God. That incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) is truly glorious and is a portion of our inheritance which we will enjoy forever.
God's Kind of Family Part TWO
GOD’S KIND OF FAMILY (Part 2)
God’s kind of family has children born to Christian fathers and mothers. It is not a sin to choose not to marry. Neither is it a sin to marry and not have children. It is a sin to have children outside of marriage. Christian men have the responsibility to provide for their family. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8) God never intended for children to be born to unwed parents and then the government have to be responsible to feed, clothe and provide for them. Godly men are to train their children to serve God. (Ephesians 6:4) Young people must be taught to follow the steps of Jesus. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) Children must be taught and trained with kindness and love. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21) By continual faultfinding you can discourage and destroy a child. Christian women must love their children. (Titus 2:4) When the men are sorry and do not fulfill their God given responsibility, women must see that their children are trained to serve God. This was the case with Timothy, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (2 Timothy 1:5) We will always be better husbands and wives, better parents, and better children by loving Jesus and serving Him faithfully.
If America is ever to turn back to the Lord it will start with our homes. I still have faith in God’s kind of family!
Govern your family and yourself by being faithful to God and fruitful in His service. Save your family by being busy working for God. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Our spiritual citizenship and our hope for a strong family, God’s kind of family, is through and because of Jesus, the Christ. To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4) We should all choose God’s way for our family because it has proven to always be the better way. I still have faith in God’s kind of family!
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037
God's Kind of Family part One
GOD’S KIND OF FAMILY (Part 1)
Satan is doing everything that he can to destroy God’s kind of family. God loves the family as it is described in the Bible. But, Satan hates everything that God loves. The home, as described in the Bible, is the work of God. Satan hates the family as God designed it and he is doing everything he can to destroy it. Satan loves to find ways to break families apart; yet Go...d hates divorce. “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” (Malachi 2:16) God designed a family with a man as husband, a woman as wife and children being born to husbands and wives who are legally married to one another. It is a false way when men and women decide to just live together not married. (1 Corinthians 6:6-11) It is a false way to have babies outside of marriage. It is a false way for men to be married to men. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) It is a false way for a woman to be married to a woman. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” (Romans 1:24-26) God hates these false ways and with His help we can go out and defeat Satan, the home wrecker. “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalms 119:104)
God’s kind of family has a Christian husband and father. Godly men must love their wives, (a) Like Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, and (b) Like they love their own body, nourishing and cherishing it. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” (Ephesians 5:25-29) Husbands are even to give their wives priority over their own parents. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31) Husbands are to honor their wives, understand them and treat them as the special being that they are. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) Husbands must also exhibit the right attitude toward their wife. “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (Colossians 3:19) I still have faith in God’s kind of family!
God’s kind of family has a Christian wife and mother. Godly wives are to submit to their husbands. The wife must respect the husband as her head. She must be subject to him in everything. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Ephesians 5:22-24) Younger women must be taught to love their husbands and to love their children. (Titus 2:4) The wife must respect or reverence her husband. “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) A woman may work outside of the home (Proverbs 31:10-31), however if she is married here primary role is that of a wife and a mother. I still have faith in God’s kind of family!
When we think of admirable qualities that we esteem highly in others or that we would like to see developed in ourselves, what are some that come to mind? Do we appreciate honesty, integrity, dependability, attention to detail, hard work, consistency, impartiality? Do we consider faith, kindness, meekness, temperance, joy, steadfastness, and a loving spirit to be traits that we hold in high regard?
When Peter, by inspiration, encouraged the first-century saints to build upon the foundation of faith, he instructed them to add to their faith virtue (2 Pet.1:5). Virtue is translated from a word that, at its root, indicates manliness. There is involved a sense of courage and strength. You might remember the words of encouragement that Jehovah spoke to the newly-appointed leader of His people, Joshua: “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them” (Josh.1:6). As David lay dying, he gave instructions to his son, Solomon, who would take his father’s place upon the throne: “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man” (1 Kings 2:2). In his closing words to the brethren at Corinth, Paul would say, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor.16:13). The strength referenced in these passages has nothing to do with physical strength. The admonitions are given to be strong in regard to spiritual matters. This spiritual strength coupled with the courage to act upon what is right is what constitutes virtue. Some refer to this as “moral courage.” Others indicate that it involves vigorous activity or energy. I will submit that it is a combination of the two—the courage to do what is right and the willingness to exercise the spiritual strength necessary to act upon what is right. It is a mindset that is joined with action, much like the faith upon which virtue is to be built!
The command to exhibit and exercise virtue in our lives seems very much out of place in our day, given the current moral and religious climate. After all, in a time when so many are focused on eradicating “gender inequality,” it seems very inappropriate to tell anyone to grow up and act manly. When society is seeking to do all it can to blur the lines of distinction between men and women, some are left to wonder just what being manly really involves. It has become more acceptable in our current culture for men to act like women and for women to act like men. No wonder, then, that virtue is not so virtuous anymore. Now, we are told, that those who “come out” in regard to their sexual orientation are courageous, and should be lauded as heroes. Sadly, our society has embraced immoral “courage” as something virtuous and praise-worthy. This flies in the face of what Peter instructs us to do as Christians. True virtue does not celebrate vice. Moral courage demands that we stand up for what is right, even when everyone else around us is unwilling to do so. This does not grant someone the right to be ugly or mean-spirited. It does, however, mean that we cannot give up the truth! Virtue refuses to be backed into a corner, to be silent when truth is being attacked. A foundation of Biblical faith demands that we act upon what has been revealed to us in God’s word (Rom.10:17). Fear stands in opposition to virtue, and we know where fear will lead us (Rev.21:8). Let us never be afraid to do what is right!
Judge Not by Patrick Morrison
For a long time, I was under the impression that the most well-known verse in the Bible was John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” However, the more I hear and read from those around me, the more I am convinced that Matthew 7:1 has supplanted John 3:16 as the most well-known, and most quoted, verse in Scripture: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Now simply because a verse is well-known or oft-quoted does not mean that it is well understood or correctly applied. Some want us to think that it’s simply a matter of “don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you.” But, that ignores the context of this passage, and does not harmonize with other teachings of Jesus throughout Scripture. What does this passage mean in its context? How can we make application of this to everyday living?
I am certain that Jesus did not speak these words so that we could remain comfortable in our sinful ways. Yet, this is precisely how so many attempt to use these words of the Master Teacher. Rather than give up thoughts, words, and deeds that are not in keeping with the will of God, many want to continue in sin. When our love of sin is greater than our love for God, almost any justification will placate us. Are we truly trying to overcome sin in our lives when we throw around the tired cliche of “Who are you to judge me? You have your own faults to work on. When you are perfect, then come talk to me.” Such is a childish defensive mechanism that in no way helps us to improve our lives and become more like Jesus.
It is the height of hypocrisy to use these words of Jesus to defend our pet sins. The point of the passage is to get us to examine ourselves to make sure we are striving to be what we proclaim to be! We are often hard on others, and yet we go easy on ourselves when it comes to sin. Jesus was denouncing hypercritical and hypocritical judgment! We must be willing to subject ourselves to the same standard of judgment that we expect from others. Herein is part of the struggle with this passage of Scripture. This passage does not condemn judgment altogether. Instead, when placed alongside other teachings of Jesus, he is instructing us to submit to a divine standard of judgment. In another place, Jesus teaches, “Judge not according to the appearance; but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). So in one passage we are told not to judge, and in another we are told to judge righteous judgment. Some would have Jesus contradict himself, for in their opinion, all judgment is sinful. If we are never to render judgment, then how would we fulfill the command to abhor that which is evil and cling to that which is good (Rom.12:9)? How could we ever help to rescue a brother or sister who is overtaken in sin if we could not judge (Gal.6:1)? The warning of Jesus in Matthew 7:1 is to beware of being hypocritical in our judgment. We must do all that we can to make sure we are walking faithfully with the Lord. We must work to remove the sins in our lives, so that we can then help our brothers and sisters to remove the sins from their lives (does anyone actually read verse 5 of this passage?). Since we are not righteous in and of ourselves (Rom.3:10), it is, therefore, absolutely imperative that we base our judgment on an objective, unbiased, flawless, immutable standard—the word of God (Psa.119:172). When we subject ourselves to this standard, we can be sure that our lives will be holy and righteous as we live by it. Holding others to the same standard is not being hypocritical. It is being consistent. Live by the standard that you expect to see in the lives of others!
The gifts or the giver
Large crowds followed Jesus, not because they recognized His majesty or craved His life-altering words, but first because His signs amazed them (John 6:2), and then because He fed them (John 6:26).
The signs were to lead them to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, which would lead them to eternal life (John 20:30, 31). The bread in their bellies should have opened their hearts to the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27, 35, 41, 48, 51). In their eyes, Jesus was great because He helped them. When the food ran out or the miracles finished, their service ceased.
Are we that much different?
Ask yourself these questions: Why do I serve God? Why do I praise him? Why do I love Jesus? Do I serve God because of what He gives or because of who He is?
I posit that our motivation for service matters. It is possible to serve the right God in the right way for the wrong reasons.
God is not great because of what He gives. God is great because of who He is. God gives because He is great, and what God gives is great because He is great.
It is natural for us to be drawn to God because of what He has done. Faith is informed, not blind. One must know to believe. And God reveals himself, at least in part, through His gifts.
Those seven signs recorded in John were bigger than the acts themselves. Healing a lame man was not just for the physical benefit of one man. Raising Lazarus was more than just restoring temporal life to a friend.
These acts were accomplished to draw people to Jesus — without the signs, Jesus wouldn’t have the crowds. But more than that, these signs were designed to show people who Jesus was. His nature, His power, His mercy, His love, His character should be seen in these acts.
What happens when the gifts of God are not what we expect or seem to vanish altogether? What happens when our perception of God’s gifts change? Do we still serve Him? What happened to many of Jesus’ followers when He didn’t feed them and they became disillusioned with what He preached? They followed Him no longer (John 6:60, 66).
Abraham received a promised child from God (Genesis 21:1-3), and then was willing to give Him up (Genesis 22:1-18). If we serve the blessing, we would be tempted to question God, to refuse His request, to blame Him for our loss. Abraham served the Blesser.
Paul experienced hardship, persecution, and rejection. He learned contentment (Philippians 4:11, 12). He served the Giver not the gifts.
It is natural for us to begin our journey by loving and serving God because of what He gives. The challenge is to grow in our faith as Abraham did (Romans 4:16-25), so that we are not moved when challenges arise.
While He gives great gifts, our God is great not because of the blessings He bestows, but because of the character He possesses.
Do you have faith in the gifts or the Giver, in the blessings or the Blesser? It is a distinction that can make all the difference.
It is about how we live
How often do we want to blame what happens to us on someone else? It isn’t our fault that this happened! Growing up in the United States this was called “passing the buck”; we wanted to blame someone – or something – for our predicament. It surely couldn’t be us!
This seems to have been going on since God created humans. Even Adam in the garden blamed Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent when they sinned. But it isn’t a matter of assigning blame; it is about what we do and changing our lives. The Israelites at the time of Ezekiel had the same problem.
“The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying what mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?” (Ezekiel 18:1-2 KJV.)
In other words, the problems they were facing in being in exile wasn’t their fault – it was what their ancestors had done. They were the ones who had sinned and as a result the people ended up in exile – or so they reasoned. God through Ezekiel dealt with this type of reasoning decisively.
First there was a man who is righteous: he lived a good life, refrained from doing what was wrong, and obeyed God. This man was righteous and as a result would live; God wouldn’t punish him.
But he had a son. The son was not a good man but did everything he could that was wrong including worshipping idols. “ Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.”(Ezekiel 18:13). Just because his father was a good, righteous man that did not mean that the son would be accepted by God no matter what he did. Because of the way he lived – what he did – he would be responsible for his rejection by God.
This man in turn had a son. He observed his father’s life and decided that he did not want to live this way. Perhaps he also observed his grandfather’s life and was impressed by what he saw. He decided to live a righteous life, doing what was right, and following God. He would not be held accountable for his father’s sins. Because he lived a faithful life he would surely live.
Notice as well that the wicked father would not be spared because he had a righteous son. “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity” (Ezekiel 18:18).
What is the point in all of this? We are each responsible before God for what we do. We can’t “pass the buck”. God put it this way:
“ The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20).
But there is hope for the wicked person. If he were to change his life, turn away from the sin he was involved in, become obedient to God, then he could change the outcome: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die” (Ezekiel 18:21).
Of course the opposite is true as well. If the righteous man turns to sin, he will be held accountable for the sins he is now involved in. It is about what we do, how we live our lives.
“”Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Ezekiel 18:30-32) .
Most people live as though they cannot disobey God, or that it doesn't make any difference if they do. There are at least five ways people disobey God:
1. By doing what is specifically forbidden. Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree (Genesis 1:16-17; 3:6). Lot's wife looked back to the city of Sodom (Genesis 19:17, 26). Ananias and Sapphira lied to God (Acts 5:1-11). There are many sins that are forbidden in the Bible (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:18-32; Colossians 3:5-9).
2. By refusing to do what God has commanded. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). God commanded King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but he spared their king along with sheep and oxen. He sinned in refusing to do what God commanded (1 Samuel 15:22).
By adding to what the Bible says. God has never allowed men to add to His word (Revelation 22:18; 3. Deuteronomy 4:2). Men today add to God's word when they refer to themselves by man-made names not found in the Bible. When men add: mechanical instruments of music, burning of candles/incense, creeds and manuals, etc., they go beyond that which is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) and bring upon themselves God's judgment.
4. By taking away from what the Bible says. God has never allowed man to do so (Revelation 22:19; Deuteronomy 12:32). Denominational churches take away the name of the church (Romans 16:16), the first day of the week observance of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7), water baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16), and scriptural giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
5. By substituting something else for what God commanded. Nadab and Abihu died because they substituted a different fire for what God commanded (Leviticus 10:1-2). Denominations today substitute "fund raisers" in place of the first day collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), sprinkling instead of immersion (Colossians 2:12), entertainment and recreation instead of gospel preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18-21). There is no end to men substituting for God's divine arrangement.
Love, respect, and obey what God says.
You will not be saved any other way (John 12:48; Rom. 1:16).
(from Banner of Truth, via The Reminder, Cleveland, Tennessee
Grace In Action
God’s grace is truly marvelous and measureless. Man’s greatest problem is sin (Rom.3:23), and his greatest need is the forgiveness of sins through the grace of Almighty God (Rom.6:23). It is by grace that we are saved, as we respond in the obedience of faith (Eph.2:8). Just as faith must be active in order to be effectual (James 2:26), grace is active in behalf of those who are willing to abide by the parameters God has placed upon it. How does grace act in our behalf?
Grace reaches. Through grace God has reached out to every sinner. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). By the offering of His only begotten Son, Jehovah extended the hand of fellowship and reconciliation to the whole world (John 3:16). Justice demands that we should die for our sins, but by His grace God intervened on our behalf and offered His Son in our stead (Rom.3:23-25). Truly, as we sometimes sing, “His grace reaches me.”
Grace teaches. God’s grace demands certain things of us (Titus 2:12). Grace instructs us that there are behaviors that must be avoided. We are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. It was because we gave into worldly lusts that we were estranged from our God in the first place (Isa.59:1-2; James 1:13-15). Grace demands that we get out of the sinning business (Rom.6:1-2). It only makes sense that one parameter of grace is to avoid the very things that caused fellowship to be severed. Grace also teaches us to embrace sobriety, godliness, and righteousness. We must learn to think properly and act appropriately.
Grace beseeches. God entreats us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom.12:1). After all that God has done for us, especially in the offering of His Son, it is only logical (“reasonable”, KJV) that we serve God by giving our lives in His service. God implores us to be united in the same mind and judgment, and that there be no divisions among us (1 Cor.1:10). Jesus prayed for the unity of believers, so that the world might come to believe on him (John 17:20-21). Our Father pleads with us to be reconciled unto Him (2 Cor.5:20). Jesus makes it possible for us to be made friends with God again. The Almighty begs that we walk worthy of the vocation with which we are called (Eph.4:1).
Christianity is our job (vocation); everything else is just an avocation. God entreats us that we receive not His grace in vain (2 Cor.6:1). It is possible to frustrate the grace of God (Gal.2:21). It is possible to fail of the grace of God, having once known it (Heb.12:15). We must abide by the parameters of grace that God has set so that we may continue in the riches of His grace (Acts 13:43).
- Patrick Morrison