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 Vol. 4, No. 6 

June, 2002

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

typewriter Seven Deadly Sins

By Louis Rushmore

I know that there is 7 deadly sins. I have heard that there should have been an 8th one. Can you tell me what that was? A reply would be greatly appreciated.

The Roman Catholic Church is credited with having coined the phrase, seven deadly sins. That list of seven sins contains pride, anger, envy, sloth, lust, covetousness and gluttony. (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

I am not aware of a so-called eighth deadly sin. However, the Bible attributes to every sin for which one has not repented the capacity to condemn a soul to a devil's hell. "For the wages of sin is death ..." (Romans 6:23). Hence, the catalogs of sin appearing in the New Testament list all manner of sins without an artificial distinction as to which sins can condemn a soul and which other sins are not bad enough to cause one to miss heaven and spend eternity in hell.

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV).

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Though we may naturally think that sins such as murder, which cannot be undone and have far reaching consequences, are worse than some others, before God, every sin unrepented of can condemn one's immortal soul. Artificial distinctions in sin, sometimes styled venial and mortal sins, are not biblical terms; they represent false concepts that only cloud one's perception of righteous, which God expects each soul to pursue. Consequently, Revelation 1:8 lists murders and liars together as bound for "the lake which burns with fire and brimstone."

Fortunately, any sin for which one is willing to repent can be forgiven. Following the list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is the uplifting assurance that those sins can be forgiven. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." The apostle Paul brought the Gospel message to the ancient city of Corinth and led many of his auditors to be "washed," "sanctified" and "justified" in this way. "Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized" (Acts 18:8). This corresponds to what Jesus himself instructed prior to his Ascension.

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).

Image Following Christ

By Louis Rushmore

What do you understand by the expression to "follow Christ"? In what way does following Christ differ from following other people? ~ Carol Kong

The apostle Paul urged others to follow Christ by imitating him to the extent he was following Christ. "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Greek word for "followers" here means "imitators." The apostle added to his encouragement to imitate him as he imitated Christ with these words: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (1 Corinthians 11:2). They were to continue practicing the Gospel, which was empowered to save them (Romans 1:16). Likewise, the apostle John, by inspiration, stressed the urgency of abiding in the doctrine of Christ, that is, the Gospel or New Testament doctrine.

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11).

In addition, the terms "disciple" and "Christian" each involve the concept of following Christ. The latter portion of Acts 11:26 uses both words: "... And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The word "disciple" means a learner or pupil, hence regarding Christ, to be a learner or pupil of Christ. The word "Christian" literally means to be a follower of Christ. Hence, following Christ means to faithfully practice Christianity. This would include redemption taught in the new covenant or testament (Acts 2:38), worship (John 4:24; Acts 20:7), Christian living (Romans 12:1-2), service (Mark 16:15-16; 2 Timothy 2:2), etc.

Primarily, the difference between following Christ as opposed to following a mere man or a doctrine, secular or religious, is simply what or who is followed. Ultimately, we achieve that following of Christ, a mere mortal or a doctrine by either adopting what is taught or what is demonstrated by others who have adopted what is taught. Of course, following Christ is nobler than following a mere mortal or a manmade doctrine. We may follow Christ by turning directly to the New Testament of Christ or by benefiting from the example of others who are following Christ. However, we need to compare the example and teaching of others who purport to follow Christ with the Word of God to ensure that we are not misled (1 John 4:1).

typewriter typewriter Who Were the Libertines?

By Louis Rushmore

A reader passed on to us a rambling confusion sent to him, in which someone erroneously supposed that the Libertines of Acts 9:6 were Gentiles, that the synagogue means the church and that the apostle Paul taught against the Law of Moses whereas Stephen did not. It is hardly useful to include those rambles here, and yet difficult also to address concisely a number of artificially connected notions. Nevertheless, we try below.

A Libertine was a Roman freedman. It does not specify nationality, but status of citizenship. Technically, a Libertine could be Gentile or Jew. In the context of Acts 6, the Synagogue of the Libertines would be decidedly Jewish. Note the observation of Robertson.

The Libertines (Latin libertinus, a freedman or the son of a freedman) were Jews, once slaves of Rome (perhaps descendants of the Jews taken to Rome as captives by Pompey), now set free and settled in Jerusalem and numerous enough to have a synagogue of their own. (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright (c) 1985 by Broadman Press)

Vincent concurs and adds the following:

In Jerusalem, and probably in other large cities, the several synagogues were arranged according to nationalities, and even crafts. Thus we have in this verse mention of the synagogues of the Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and Asiatics. Libertines is a Latin word (Libertini, "freedmen"), and means here Jews or their descendants who had been taken as slaves to Rome, and had there received their liberty; and who, in consequence of the decree of Tiberius, about 19 A.D., expelling them from Rome, had returned in great numbers to Jerusalem. They were likely to be the chief opponents of Stephen, because they supposed that by his preaching, their religion, for which they had suffered at Rome, was endangered in Jerusalem. (Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary likewise agrees with Robertson and Vincent. The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia adds:

LIBERTINE: The earliest explanation of the word (Chrysostom) is also that which has been adopted by the most recent authorities. The Libertini are Jews who, having been taken prisoners by Pompey and other Roman generals in the Syrian wars, had been reduced to slavery, and had afterwards been emancipated, and returned, permanently or for a time, to the country of their fathers. (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

Commentators Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke note the list of synagogues in Acts 6:9 are named according to places in which the members of the various synagogues previously lived, and that the Libertines must apply to a city with a similar name in Africa. Yet, they acknowledge these to be Jews.

It is true that the Greek word for synagogue (depending upon the context in which it appears) may refer to the church; James 2:2 is such an example. That is because the original word conveys the idea of an assembly. Ordinarily, though, the word synagogue was applied to Jewish assemblies in a building by the same name reserved for these assemblies. The context of Acts 9 indicates that the typical Jewish opposition to Christianity is meant. Hence, the Jewish synagogues are intended in Acts 9. The Jewish priests followed the same procedure in their trial of Jesus (Matthew 26:59-62). The Jews also accused Jesus of blasphemy (John 10:33).

Stephen was misrepresented, as was Jesus before him and Paul after him. For instance, Paul was falsely accused of speaking against the Jewish customs that attended Judaism, as the context of Acts 21:18-28 proves. Only, James the brother of Jesus, the Jerusalem elders and the apostle Paul taught that Gentiles were not to adopt Judaism as a prerequisite to becoming Christians (Acts 15:13-29; 21:25).

Finally, one supposed that the Book of Acts was written partly by Luke (chapters 1-8) and the balance by someone else. This seems to have little to do with the questions poised above. Further, no evidence to support such a theory, which would seem to disarm the integrity and inspiration of the volume and the Bible overall, was offered. We, then, under those considerations must dismiss this idea as equally misguided as the rest to which we responded above.

The entire convoluted approach observed above, to which we responded, had as its purpose to portray "Sabbath reasonings" (Acts 13:14ff; 16:13ff; 17:2ff; 18:4ff) in synagogues throughout the Book of Acts as the New Testament church meeting on Saturday instead of the first day of the week for worship. Such a one misses completely the evangelistic nature of the apostle Paul's activities. Paul went into the synagogues to find ready-made audiences among whom ought to have been the best prepped by the Old Testament to receive news of the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Jesus Christ. When the Jews resisted his preaching, he turned to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6). As a matter of fact, Paul separated the disciples from the Jews in the synagogues (Acts 19:8-9). It is clear that the church of the New Testament worshipped on the first day of the week.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight" (Acts 20:7).

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