Vol. 12 No. 6 June 2010
Ernest S. Underwood
When discussing God’s instruction concerning how one is saved, many people will say, “I just can’t understand it that way. If this describes you, which of the following statements do you think you might have difficulty in understanding?
“He who believes and is baptized shall be promoted to a better job with a better salary.”
“He who believes and is baptized will be given a new automobile of his/her choice.”
“He who believes and is baptized will be given an extra month’s vacation.”
“He who believes and is baptized will be paid five million dollars.”
“He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.”
Which one did you have trouble with? The first four we all can and do understand. We know that certain rewards are promised to those who believe and are baptized. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we could not expect to receive the reward until the requirements were met.
Yet, when Jesus promises salvation to any who believes and are baptized, folks just cannot understand it. Honestly now, is the last one any more difficult to understand that the other four. Surely not! We are only lying to ourselves to say that it is.
Mark N. Posey
Considered honestly, the goodness of God should melt our hearts (Romans 2:4). God has been so good to us when we possessed no goodness demanding His mercy. He loves, cares and provides for us, even though we go against His revealed will. He is our Father in the truest sense of the term. Since God is so benevolent, should we not give Him our best? Should we not investigate His Word, obey His commands, share His love and long for His company in heaven? I am sure all would agree! Therefore, as we daily prepare for eternity, let us consider some of the wonderful blessings He has given us this side of eternity.
1. Jesus. Paul was deeply appreciative for Jesus. He said, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” The word “gave” found in John 3:16, identifies the greatest gift ever given. God “gave” (John 3:16) that the world might “receive” Jesus (Colossians 2:6); Jesus died (1 Corinthians 15:3) that the world might live (John 20:31). Jesus is the greatest gift ever known to mankind.
2. Bible. The Bible is the greatest book in existence because it is from the mind of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Its very name “Holy Bible” means “The Book.” Many have tried to destroy it; however, it has always endured. Skeptics have fought against it, and yet, they have been forced to admit its wonderful impact upon humanity. Isaiah declared, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Thank God for His Holy Word!
3. Grace. God’s grace is freely bestowed (Romans 3:24) and universally available to humanity (Titus 2:11). It brings salvation (Titus 2:11; Ephesians 2:8), but must be “received” (2 Corinthians 6:1) through “faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is not some unconditional blanket God has thrown on the human race to tolerate anything or everything man might do! It is a blessing from God to every single sinner who wills to partake of it and be saved by obeying the whole counsel of God.
4. Church. The church of Jesus Christ is the greatest institution in existence. It was founded by Christ (Matthew 16:18) in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5) in the year A.D. 33. Christ is its Head (Ephesians 1:22) and its Savior (Ephesians 5:23). The church wears the name of Christ (Romans 16:16). Its members wear His name (Ephesians 3:15; James 2:7). Its rule of faith and practice is the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and strives daily to save lost souls (2 Timothy 2:2). You must be a member of the Christ’s church to go to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24). Thank God for the church of Jesus Christ!
5. Hope. The Christian’s only hope is heaven (Ephesians 4:4). Peter declared, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). There can be no hope for those outside Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13; Ephesians 2:12). However, for those in Christ, going to heaven is a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3-4).