|Vol. 12 No. 8 August 2010||
Garland M. Robinson
Colossians 3:5 tells us to mortify sin in our lives. To mortify means, “to make dead, to put to death, slay.” Five things are specifically mentioned (a host of others are found throughout the New Testament). The first item on the list is “fornication.” It is defined as “illicit sexual intercourse.” It includes men with women and men/women with animals. Its definition is very clear and understandable. First Corinthians 6:13 says, “the body is not for fornication.” By observation, though, you would not know fornication is evil (immoral). It is on display all around us: movies, television, music, videos, songs, magazines, books. The thoughts and intents of people’s hearts are filled with wickedness continually (cf. Genesis 6:5). First John 5:19 says, “The whole world lies in wickedness.” However, God tells us to “flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and put it to death. When we obey the Gospel, we put away the old man of sin and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-18). How about you?
D. Gene West
One of the things that modern students of the New Testament have overlooked is the depth and intensity of the struggle that went on between our Lord and His Jewish enemies during His public ministry. If one reads the New Testament without some, at least superficial, knowledge of the prophecies dealing with the coming of Christ and His struggles to bring His kingdom into existence, he is very likely to overlook the stressful relationship that existed between Christ and His countrymen. This is one of the things that Christians need to understand to interpret properly the New Testament with regard to the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for the redemption of mankind. Glossing over the struggles between Christ and His enemies causes us to fail to stop and consider all the suffering that Christ endured at their hands from the time He was baptized by John in the wilderness of Jordan until He was finally nailed to the cross of Calvary.
While it would be greatly beneficial to consider all these struggles, a number of which are dealt with in some detail in the Book of John, in a space as limited as ours, we cannot do that. Therefore, we wish to give a cursory glance to just one instance. In Mark 3:20-30, after Jesus had performed several of His mighty miracles, the scribes who had come from Jerusalem made a serious accusation against our Lord. They did not deny that He performed miracles, but they said, “He has Beelzebub, and By the ruler of demons He casts out demons…” Jesus then disputed with them showing this could not be the case for if it were you would have Satan casting out his own demons and that simply would not do. Then in verses 28-30, Jesus spoke of what we usually call the “unpardonable sin,” that had been committed by these people in that they had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. As a result of their blasphemy against the Spirit, they would never have forgiveness. He said this was the case “because they said …He has an unclean spirit.” We are told the word “said,” in verse 30 is in the imperfect tense and it indicates that these people made this charge against Jesus not just once, as one might think from a cursory reading of the Gospel records, but the imperfect tense indicates that they were persistent in making this malicious charge. In other words, it was a charge they had made in the past and were persistently making until that time, and probably did in the future as well. So, the false charge was made again and again. Possibly every time Jesus performed a miracle, or at least a miracle that involved the casting out of demons.
As brother Wayne Jackson pointed out in an excellent article on another subject, the sin these people committed in making this false charge against Jesus “…was not a mere impulsive exclamation that denigrated the Holy Spirit…” (Christian Courier, August, 2005, Vol. XLI, Number 4, p. 13) but a persistent allegation they made against the Lord. Though the writers of the Gospel records mention only one instance, the grammar of the original language tells us that it was their usual explanation of the power by which Jesus cast out demons and performed other miracles. Brother Jackson, in the same article, pointed out that in Matthew 12:34, Jesus said, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). He also pointed out that there are three words in this statement that are in the present active indicative. The words “being evil” means that being evil was a matter of course for them; they kept on being evil; they did not stop being evil, they were always evil. The third word is “speaks,” which is likewise in present form and means they had spoken, were speaking and would speak evil from the abundance of their hearts. They kept on speaking evil against the Lord. Consequently, this was not something that was done one or two occasions, but something they did constantly. Every time they spoke of Christ and His work on this earth, they spoke evil of it, for that was what always came from their mouths. We need to be fully aware of the fact that there was probably not a day, when Jesus was in contact with the Jews at large, that He was not hurtfully criticized by them. No wonder He sought the solitude of the mountains from time to time!