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Archive for the ‘Purity of life’ Category

Disinherited Children

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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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Darwinism and Morality

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Until about fifty years ago in America, lasciviousness, adultery, and fornication were almost universally deemed reprehensible. Divorce was shameful, pornography was underground, and homosexuality was illegal. These elements are now on open display and enjoy wide approval—and participation.

Is our nation stronger or weaker because of these changes? Are families/homes more or less secure? Is the “misery index” for individuals greater or less? Do more or fewer people turn to chemical “solutions” for failure to find “purpose” in life? Are we experiencing more or fewer individual murders by abortion and mass murders? To ask is to answer.

Many “whys” might be suggested to explain the unarguable decline in national morals and ethics. Arguably, they all go back to a single taproot: Charles Darwin and his evolutionary hoax. Before his theories caught on in the 1870s, Western nations, though divided between Protestant and Catholic, were united in accepting the Biblical view of man as the apex of the creation of the Almighty, Self-existent God. Man had a purpose—to glorify God—and the Bible set forth man’s behavior that would do so.

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James 1:1–15—Testing Our Faith

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Introduction

Life is a testing ground, a time of probation. The tests, trials, and challenges come in many forms and from many sources. Some are easily recognized because they are so painful. Others may be difficult to recognize because they are not only painless, but they offer reward and/or produce pleasure.

We read no further than the second verse of the epistle of James before we learn that it is addressed to God’s people who are being tested and tried. Anyone who has lived as a Christian very long can readily identify with the experiences described and addressed in James 1; the tests to our faith seem to come quite frequently. In fact, one who strives to live faithfully will find that life is almost one temptation, test, trial, and tribulation after another, because one is a Christian.

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“Enemies of the Cross”

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In the mildest of his epistles (in terms of rebuke and correction), the apostle Paul nonetheless warned the Philippian saints of “enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18–19), which he at one time was. He thereby vividly aligned those who lived contrary to the Gospel with the former Saul of Tarsus in his most zealous days of persecuting the Lord. Notably, Paul here made the cross the apex, summary, and symbol of Jesus’ earthly life and work (His purpose in coming, His doctrine, His church, et al.).

In this context the apostle specified three identifying marks of these enemies, who still thrive all about us:

  • “Whose God is the belly”—These are those who live only to satisfy fleshly appetites. They live by the philosophy, “If it feels good, do it.” The gross breakdown of sexual morality in our nation over the past half-century is a graphic manifestation of “belly-worship.” “Bibliolatry” also reveals itself in hedonisms ranging from road rage to alcohol consumption, drug addiction, gambling, and various criminal acts (some of which, politicians in the highest circles of power are guilty). As America has increasingly cast aside the Bible (and God with it), its righteous restraints of continence and self-control have increasingly vanished. “Belly-worship” is simply unmitigated selfishness, which is a good working definition of Secularism and Humanism.
  • “Whose glory is in their shame”Glory here refers to that of which men can justifiably be proud, thus things men ought to honor. The enemies of Calvary have turned things upside down, proudly parading behaviors which they should count disgraceful. No more apt description than this could be drafted of the homosexual practitioners and their defenders. In step with them are those who advocate removing all restraints in the entertainment media on nudity, sexual acts, and cesspool language. All who participate in and boast of any evil deed have thereby made themselves “enemies of the cross.”
  • “Who mind earthly things”—These live only for time, with little or no thought beyond (which is why their “bellies” are their god). Theirs is the old Epicurean credo: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). Humanism, its modern incarnation, denies the immortality of the soul, the Resurrection of the body, and the realm of spirits.

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Do You Love Jesus?

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The apostle Paul lent significance to the question above as he wrote: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema…” (1 Cor. 16:22). Anathema means “accursed,” thus under the condemnation of God. He earlier explained that love for others is defined by action, rather than merely by words (13:4–7; cf. 1 John 3:18). This principle is no less true regarding one’s love for the Christ. The New Testament provides some benchmarks by which we may gauge our love (or lack thereof) for God and His Son.

  • We must not love the world: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The World here is not the earth or its inhabitants, but the behavior of a world separated from God by sin. Most people live for themselves rather than to honor Jesus. There is no love of Him in such lives.
  • We must love one another: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar…” (1 John 4:20a; 2:9). While brother here refers to fellow-Christians, every other human being is a “brother” in the human family. As God loved all mankind (John 3:16), so should we. Love for others is not necessarily affection or close association, but seeking their best interests—even of our enemies (Mat. 5:44).
  • We must love the things He loved. Those who claim to love Jesus and to abide in Him “ought…to walk even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). If one does not love Truth, righteousness, or the souls of men he is a hypocrite to claim to love the Lord Who loved all of these. One who says, “Jesus yes, but the church, no,” confesses his lack of love for Jesus; He “loved the church, and gave himself up for it” (Eph. 5:25).
  • We must keep His commandments: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15; cf. 21). This simple test is the all-embracing one, separating the sincere/serious disciple from the pretending hypocrite. Although theologians have sought to strip almost every vestige of law or authority from the Gospel, these words of Jesus remain unchanged. He further emphasized the necessity of obedience in the same context: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my words…” (v. 24a). As Jesus drew His Sermon on the Mount to a close, He said: It is not those who merely call Him “Lord,” but those who obey the Divine will, who will be saved (Mat. 7:23). Jesus offers eternal salvation “unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9).

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