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Archive for the ‘Repentance’ Category

Disinherited Children

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our New Uploads page.]

Joan Crawford, the famous movie star of several decades back, left some of her children out of her will. She was not the first to do so, nor is she likely to be the last. It is the right of parents to disinherit a child or children if they choose to do so. Let it be observed, however, that such disinherited children do not cease to be the children or offspring of the withholding parents; they simply are left out of the will, cut off from receiving any of the estate.

Can—and will—God ever disinherit His children? One of the major tenets of Calvinism is “Perseverance of the saints,” which avers that if one chances to be among the elect of God he can never do anything sinful or evil enough to fall from God’s grace and lose his eternal inheritance. However, those who will read the New Testament with glasses that are clear, rather than with those colored by Calvinistic dogma, will discover a plethora of passages that teach otherwise, for example.:

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The Gospel of Christ Is Unchanged and Unchanging

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts page.]

Introduction

The cry for change was the main theme of William Jefferson Clinton and a press bi­ased toward him in the last presidential campaign. This cry was what swept him into office more than any other single thing. In order to bring about the changes it sought, a liberal news media was willing to overlook both his lack of qualifications and character. Change-at-whatever-price seemed to be the demon that drove them. They accomplished their aim and we now have a man (and woman) in the Whitehouse who are a dis­grace to our nation and who bode disaster for it.

The cry for change in the Lord’s church has been heard with increasing frequency and intensity in recent years. Those calling for changes in the church, like their political counterparts, seem determined to effect it at whatever price it may exact on the body of Christ. This cry is heard in various books that our brethren have written (e.g., The Church in Transition, by Jim Woodroof, The Cruci­form Church, by Leonard Allen). It is heard in various journals (e.g., Image, Wine­skins, Christian Chronicle). It is heard in speeches made at lecture­ships, conferences, and workshops (e.g., Nashville “Jubilee,” Tulsa Soul-winning Workshop, “unity” forums, various university campuses, et al.). Articles and even workshops are now appearing more frequently on how to accomplish change and how to be “change agents” in local congregations.

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Conversion Confusion

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Brief Articles page.]

            Conversion is the theme of the New Testament. It embraces redemption, forgiveness, and salvation—the purpose of Jesus’ coming. To “convert” means to change/turn from one’s present course. One’s salvation depends upon his conversion (Mat. 18:3; Acts 3:19), so we must understand the New Testament’s teaching concerning it. Few subjects, however, involve more confusion than this one does.

           Conversion brings one from sinner to saint, from lost to saved, from non-Christian to Christian, and it involves three distinct and necessary changes.

  • Conviction change: Picture a “casual” unbeliever in God and Jesus—one who has just not thought seriously about the subject. He drives a car, consults a GPS unit, depends on a smart phone, and operates a computer. He knows such articles required intelligence, design, and manufacturing. He applies this reasoning to the universe and to his own body; he cannot attribute them to blind accident. He reads the Bible’s statement that an omniscient, omnipotent, eternal God created all things (Gen. 1:1)—the rational explanation of origins. He reads of Jesus in the Gospel, and moved by His miracles and His love for mankind, he believes in Him as God’s Son. His convictions have changed; the unbeliever now believes. Jesus said, “Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). To millions, belief alone equals conversion. What does the Bible teach?
  • Mind-life change: The Bible word for this change is repentance. The basic meaning of this word is a change of mind—the decision to turn from a life of sin and self to one that follows wherever Jesus leads through His New Testament. One may believe that Jesus is the Christ without deciding to abandon sin and serve Him. Repentance is the point at which he “makes up his mind” to do so, and then he does so (Mat. 3:8). Jesus said that one will perish if he does not repent (Luke 13:3). Does repentance complete conversion? The Bible answers, “No.”
  • Relationship-to-God change: While faith and repentance move one toward God and His Son, these do not bring one into fellowship with Them. This relationship change is accomplished in baptism, wherein one’s sins are forgiven, “washed away” in the blood of Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rev. 1:5). At this point—and not before—one is added to the church of Christ because he is saved (Acts 2:47). In baptism (i.e., immersion in water)—and not before—one enters “into Christ” (Rom. 6:3–4; Gal. 3:27). Thus believers on Pentecost were commanded to “repent and be baptized” to receive forgiveness of sins/salvation (Acts 2:38).

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Twin Parables—The Treasure and the Pearl—Matthew 13:44–46

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts page.]

Introduction

The Dickson New Analytical Bible lists thirty-one parables spoken by our Lord. Since I deny that the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) is a parable, my list contains only thirty. The frequency with which Jesus employed this story-form to teach a wide spectrum of lessons signals to us that this method was one of His favorite vehicles of instruction. He obviously considered parables very effective.

Parable is actually an Anglicized Greek word, parabole. This compound word means to throw down (bole) something beside (para) something else. Hence, a parable consists of a story involving human experiences that illustrates one or more spiritual truths. These elongated figures of speech always involve events that either have happened or could happen. Unlike fables, they do not employ impossible or unnatural scenes (e.g., talking animals, trees, etc.). Jesus stated all of the “kingdom parables” in Matthew 13 (except the parable of the sower) in the form of similes: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto…” (v. 24; et al.).[1] Thus, in these parables we have a figure of speech (simile) within a figure of speech (parable).[2]

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Baptism—What Does the Bible Teach?

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts page.]

Introduction

In Mark 16:16 Jesus made one of the most explicit statements in the New Testament concerning baptism: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.”1 In spite of the plainness of His statement regarding the purpose of the act and its place in the Divine plan for man’s salvation, men still largely ignore and/or obstinately oppose Jesus’ teaching. Jesus tied the act of baptism inseparably to salvation, which makes it imperative that we understand what the Bible teaches on this subject. Any interpretation of other passages relating to baptism and salvation that contradicts the plain statement here must necessarily be an erroneous interpretation.

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