|Volume 21 Number 11 November 2019||
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Many professed Christians believe that God’s people were under a law with Moses but that they are under grace with Jesus. They deny that there is anything one can do to be saved by Jesus. They say Jesus gives us His grace and grace is all that we need. The above verse states that by Jesus came grace and truth. So, this verse by itself shows that grace alone was not what Jesus brought. It shows that one must have the truth as well as His grace.
The writer of Hebrews in 12:28 wrote, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” The words “godly fear” come from a word meaning caution or dread. Grace includes a proper understanding that God is someone to be feared. If grace alone ruled His kingdom, there would be no reason to have caution while professing to live in Him.
Notice also in Hebrews 12:28 the word “reverence.” This word means to be shamefaced or bashful. It indicates that the person acknowledges his personal shortcomings and weakness in comparison to God. One has shame in seeing oneself so small in comparison to God. One has shame in understanding that one does not live perfectly according to the expectations of God. This indicates there are things that one must do to live in a proper relationship with God.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:2, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The definite article “the” is before the word “faith” in the Greek. So, Paul was talking about the system of faith, the rules, regulations and commandments given by Christ. It is by that system of faith that we have access to God and His grace. Notice that Paul says one should stand in this system of faith, which comes by grace.
Acts 11:23 reads, “Who, when he came, and has seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” The word “cleave” comes from a word that means to stay or to adhere. It indicates a strong action to hold onto something. One must stay in Christ. One must constantly give energy to making sure he is holding onto Christ. This would not be necessary if there was nothing a person had to do to stay in the grace of God. Notice that the cleaving is done with purpose of heart. It is a willful and reasoned choice to hold onto the Lord.
Finally, look at Hebrews 13:9. “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” The words “be established” come from a word that means “confirm or make sure.” One professing to be in the grace of God must always make sure that he is doing what is the true will of God. Doctrine is extremely important. A person’s good intentions are not enough. One must be sure that he is following the true doctrine of God. This indicates that one must study the Word of God. One must know the Word of God to be in His grace.
Study your Bible. Learn God’s will. Make sure you have access to His grace. Make sure you live in His grace. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Donald R. Fox
Do you have a sense of ought? Webster defines the word “ought” in part as, “obligation or duty: as, he ought to pay his debts.” I must admit I have a strong sense of ought. I do not recognize this in a bragging way or anything like that. This feeling of ought, I believe, comes from one’s upbringing. Sadly, too many folks have not been brought up or raised in any sense of the meaning of “ought.” Ought or obligation and duty contains the idea of rightness and not wrongness. With our upbringing, all of us choose to accept or reject what he or she has been taught. We are all free moral agents with the power to choose right or wrong. It is very good to have this sense of doing and acting right.
As an illustration, in our upbringing, one could be taught that it is right to hate a certain race of humans. As one matures, he or she learns that they were wrong and therefore changes one’s past view. The apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Note for a further illustration, it is reported that one robbed and severely beat up an old couple. We are repulsed and disgusted by this action. Why? We know that this is not right. Our thought process, our reasoning and logic are right. Oughtness is triumphant! The conscience must always be in tune with rightness. Unfortunately, too many do not have this wisdom of right and wrong. The lack of ought is sinful.
“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian…and most of all, his family ought to know.” (Dwight L. Moody)
A Right Standard Is Necessary
in Order for Ought to Prevail
Our nation, the USA, is founded on principles contained in the Bible, both Old and New testaments. This is our heritage! Because of internal and external evidence in the Word of God, the Bible, I know this must be our true standard. Oughtness, that which is right and good, is contained in the Word of God!
Light and truth will come from our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have light of life” (John 8:12). He also said, “…and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). “And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6). “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11).
Oughtness Is Fulfilled When
We Are Obedient to Our Lord
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).