|Volume 17 Number 8 August 2015||
Ernest S. Underwood
In one of his sermons, the late Foy E. Wallace, Jr. stated, “No one can be reconciled unto God without the cross. And we can be reconciled by the cross only through the Word of the cross. There is no way for the cross to reconcile us except through the Word, through the ‘preaching of the cross.’ The Word of the cross is the power that reconciles men to God.”
As one observes the religious attitude of the multiplicity of existing denominations, which substitute their Calvinistic doctrines for the Word of God, and the papal bulls and encyclicals that tout their supposed divine authority, he becomes acutely aware of how little these false institutions appreciate the cross of Christ. It should make us look seriously at the question, “Who really is a good man or woman? By this question we mean, who is a good person in the eyes of God and is reconciled to Him?
Is it a person who is highly educated? Is it a person who is powerful in political circles? Is it some Hollywood ‘dream’ man or woman? In reality, is it a relative who is dearly loved?
As we look into God’s Word, we never find that God considered an idolater a good person. Any one engaging in homosexual acts was not only not considered good, but he or she was considered to be an abomination to God. In fact, one can study the following Scripture references, and he can get a pretty good idea of one whom God considers not good (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Revelation 21:8). If one is practicing any of these things, he can be assured that he is not good in the sight of God.
On the other hand, whom does God consider good? Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount began with what we call “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:3-12).
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Such persons would surely be considered as good in the eyes of God.
Since He knew who and what is good, He stated in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” In essence, Jesus recognized as good only those who were obedient to the Father. Even devout Cornelius was told that he must hear words (the Gospel) from Peter in order to have his sins washed away. In short, God considers only those who are in Christ as good. All others, those who have never obeyed the Gospel, thereby getting into Christ by their obedience to the Gospel, are not considered good in His sight. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15). According to Jesus in Matthew 7:22-23, many on “that day” will claim to have been good, but will be told by Him, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
On the Day of Judgment, it will be the Lord who will determine those who are actually good, and those who have practiced lawlessness. To one group He will say, “Well done.” To the other group He will say, “Depart.” In which group are you at this moment? Only you have the power to change your position. Make sure that you are in the group who has “obeyed from the heart” (Romans 6:18) the Gospel of the Christ.
Marriage Vote Hypocritical?
On June 19, 2006, the following appeared as a “Letter to the Editor” in the Montgomery Advertiser.
Once again the State of Alabama overwhelmingly showed its hypocrisy by voting to approve the ban on homosexual marriage in the state. As a Christian heterosexual married man, my faith teaches me not to judge other people, but to leave the judgment to God alone. As a state, 81 percent have judged those who seek to find fulfillment in their lives by telling them they can’t do something everyone else can, and they are doing so based on a set of beliefs (Christianity) that not everyone holds. It’s ironic how we are so concerned with keeping the “sanctity of marriage” by banning the legal union of homosexuals, and yet the divorce rates in the country continue to climb higher and higher. Last time I checked, 50 percent of marriages in the United States didn’t end in “gay” – they ended in divorce. Allen Goldman, Montgomery
Here is the response that I sent to the paper.
Hypocritical? Judge Not?
It is interesting that in the recent letter by Mr. Allen Goldman, he says, “My faith teaches me not to judge other people, but to leave the judgment to God alone.” Yet, in the letter, beginning with the title, “Marriage Vote Hypocritical,” he passes judgment on everyone who opposed homosexual marriage as hypocritical. I guess his religion teaches him that no one is to judge except him. The amazing thing is that the Bible teaches that we are not to “judge” with a standard by which we ourselves are not willing to be measured (Matthew 7:1-5), and judging others for doing what we ourselves do (Romans 2:1-3). In the case of Mr. Goldman, he has violated both of these principles – he judged others by a standard to which he does not hold himself, and in the process he violated his own principle.
On the other hand Jesus commands us, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). ‘Righteous judgments’ would be judgments based on the Word of God. Christians must stand by the principles of God’s Word, and they must oppose what God has stated to be sinful (Ephesians 5:11). Truth is not based on what a majority (or a minority) thinks, but rather on what God says. God is the ultimate Judge, and He will pass final judgment. He has, however, given us His will so that we can know right from wrong.
I agree with Mr. Goldman that the rate of divorce is devastating to the sanctity of marriage. This is a blight on marriage. Allowing the “legal union of homosexuals,” however, will do nothing to solve this serious problem. That is a judgment that God has made. Opposition to a sinful practice, from a biblical standpoint, is not “hypocritical” unless we are participants in that which we oppose.
[Editor’s Note: The political and legal scenario has changed drastically since this article was originally penned nine years ago. Now, the law of the land regarding homosexuality stands in direct opposition to our great Creator and ultimate Judge. Unfortunately, one can know from historical precedent and biblical declaration the fate of nations who overtly oppose God, in this and other ways. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God” (Psalms 9:17 NKJV). Furthermore, homosexuals and apologists for homosexuality are not content simply to practice their abominable sins, but they are determined to force their legal privilege on everyone else, too – at the expense of conscience, fundamental rights, religious freedoms, livelihoods, legal ramifications and economic penalties. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Persecution of Bible believers has already begun and is likely to become acute. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]