How many times have we heard someone say, “I know what the verse says, but I think?” It may be they have not considered the implications found in that statement. They are in essence saying their thoughts, ideas or conclusions are better than that which is found in God’s word! That is thinking too highly of one’s own intellect. How can we have the idea that our thoughts are above the thoughts of God? Isaiah wrote, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
People often make the mistake of listening to what men say or think about doctrinal matters rather than asking, “What does the Bible say?” All religious error comes because people make this mistake. The Bible challenges us to, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). John exhorted men to “… believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Jesus warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). Therefore, we should compare men’s sayings with what inspiration says.
When discussing salvation, we turn to Mark 16:15-16 and read, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” Those who do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation will say, “I know that is what it says, but I do not believe a person must be baptized so as to be saved.” Really? How can it be good to say that what Jesus said is not true? Jesus said, “… and is baptized shall be saved…” To say otherwise is to contradict the Lord’s own words. How could anyone read the Lord’s words and then say, “I know… but I THINK?”
Our determination should be to learn what God said and then obey what He instructed us to do. We must ask ourselves one simple, yet profound question, “Yea, hath God said…?” The Bible is the FINAL word, His final revelation to men (Revelation 22:18-19), and His Word will have the final say on Judgment Day (John 12:48).
Can you imagine anyone saying at the Judgment scene, “I know what you said… but I think?”
- Toney Smith
How many times have we heard the words, “Don’t judge me” or maybe the phrase, “The Bible teaches that we must not judge others?” Most in the world today dislikes doctrine with its restrictive principles. It craves liberty and compromise. It loudly advocates the “let me alone to do as I please” philosophy. This present world dislikes anyone who will bring it face to face with responsibilities and sinful conduct. Consequently, many go to Matthew 7:1-4 to fortify their idea of “no judging at all.” Some are prone to justify their lifestyles and want others to overlook sinful activities by saying, “I will leave you alone if you will leave me alone.”
The question we must ask and answer is what does God say? I believe that God intends and requires that we make judgments as to activities of ourselves as well as others.
The word judge, (κρίνω) means to make a distinction; to separate; to exercise judgment upon; to call to account. The word does not mean to form an opinion. It is not imputing wrong motives for others actions. The wrong standard is never to be used, because that same standard will eventually be applied to us. (Matthew 7:2). Any judgment must be based upon the proper standard, which is God's word (John 12:48).
We must ask, “What judgments are forbidden?” It is true; we do not pass eternal judgment upon people. Everyone will ultimately stand before the great judge on the final day (Matthew 25:31 33; 7:23). We must never make judgments which are based upon an inadequate standard. It must never be based upon what I think or what I feel. All judgments must be based upon God's word (1 John 4:1).
What judgments are we allowed to make? In 1 Corinthians chapter 5, the apostle Paul instructed the church to withdraw themselves from an individual within the church. Also, in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 we read, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly...” In doing so, judgments must be applied. A determination is to be made whether or not the person is living in sin. Thus, the congregation MUST make a judgment concerning the situation. JUDGING IS A MUST! To oppose religious error and false teachers, we must make the judgment that they are wrong. Jesus did (Matthew 15:9), Paul taught the same, (Galatians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:16 17; Titus 3:10). John makes it clear as to how judgments are to be made. He said, “Judge not according to appearance, BUT JUDGE righteous judgment” (John 7:24). And when we read farther down in Matthew chapter 7 we are told that we could know “them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15 16). We must always remember, the purpose of making judgments is to encourage the sinner to repent so as to save a soul from damnation (Luke 17:3; Matthew 18:15 17).
- by Toney Smith
By Toney Smith
We often sing songs which speak of God's grace to mankind. Just where would we be without Biblical grace? Grace was one of the keywords used as Paul penned the letters to the church in the first century (Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; etc.). He very often began his letters to the congregations by stating, "GRACE BE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND FROM OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" (Galatians 1:3).
BUT WHAT IS GRACE? Many in the religious world take a false view of this beautiful gift from God. The word grace in the Hebrew language means favor; especially of God's graciousness to men, given by the source of blessings upon those in need of said blessings. The Greek word for grace is CHARIS, and it is found 156 times in the New Testament. It means the bestowing of blessings to the needy the things which are needed or lacking. VINES EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY page 509 and 510 says that grace is that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard. It can be said that grace is that which God does for men that they could not do for themselves.
HOW MAY PEOPLE TREAT GRACE? Grace can be received in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1), it can be frustrated (Galatians 1:6-8; 5:4). Jude verse 4 says that some turn grace into lasciviousness by trying to make it mean something which God did not intend. Some try to make grace a self-serving thing. On the other hand, grace can be received and used in a proper way. Men can grow and abound in God's blessing. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever" (2 Peter 3:18).
SOME THINGS WHICH GRACE CANNOT DO. Grace cannot erase conditions of an active faith which involve repentance and an individual response to the gospel of Christ (Romans 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-6). Grace cannot cancel out the punishment for the unbelieving and the unfaithful (Revelation 21:8; Acts 17:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Grace will not exempt one from repentance (Luke 13:3, 5; Matthew 3:8; 1 John 1:9).
Every person needs God's grace, and we must accept it through an active faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must obey the teachings given through the Word which is a product of God’s grace. This information demonstrates God’s love and kindness toward us. His grace provides a means of forgiveness from our sins (repentance and obedience). The very thing that man cannot do for himself.
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