Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 23 Number 4 April 2021
Page 8

Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing

Cliff Holmes

Cliff HolmesIt seems that no matter how good a thing is, there is always someone wanting to mess it up. However, when God created the heavens and the earth for us in which to live, the Bible tells us that God looked at what He had done and pronounced it “good.” In the day that God finished His creation, He looked and said it was “Very Good.”

When God acknowledged that among all the creatures there was not a helper for man, He created the woman whom Adam called Eve, for she would be the mother of all living mankind.

In telling man to be fruitful, reproduce and fill the earth, God made the first pair agents of a free moral spirit. He gave them the choice of whether to follow His instruction. God told them one little thing they could not do and left them the choice to obey or to disobey. At this point all was still “very good” in the eyes of the Lord God.

Satan, however, could not leave well enough alone. He had to stir things up for mankind, leading humans to rebel against what God had said. Ever since that time, there has been someone (every accountable soul at some time, Romans 3:10, 23) among the human race who sought to prove that he knew better than the Creator what was good for man to do. Such schemes have always been a dismal failure.

Man was not put on this earth as a sinful being, but rather each baby is born pure and sinless into a sin-sick and dying civilization, which in turn drags man into the ways of sin. The soul of man has been tarnished with a stain that no detergent known of man’s making can cleanse it – sin – away.

To restore the soul to its original purity man must find cleansing by the blood of Christ. We all need to come just as we are. “Just as I am, I come broken to be mended, I come wounded to be healed, I come desperate to be rescued, I come empty to be filled, I come guilty to be pardoned by the blood of Christ, Who is the Lamb. I am welcomed with open arms. Praise God, I come just as I am.” The wonderful peace, joy and cleansing is prepared for you and me. I implore you, don’t mess it up.

Fruit Inspecting

Ralph Clevinger

There are a number of people who can identify trees in the wintertime. They observe the type of bark, branch structure and environmental factors. Everyone else relies on the presence of leaves or fruit to draw their conclusions. The leaves and fruit serve as the primary information many people use for the basis of their discernment or judgment.

In a similar manner, our life’s fruit serves as an indicator of our faithfulness to God’s Word. Jesus informed the crowd that a broad way lies before them and many will be on it by mistake (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23). How does one find himself or herself on the broad way to destruction, howbeit, by mistake? Jesus gave that answer as well. He warned of false teachers who appear to be God’s people but are not (Matthew 7:15). How can one spot the false teacher? Jesus taught, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18). One ought to pay attention to the lives of those who lead them in faith to know where he or she is being led. The path may not be leading in the right direction.

Similarly, we ought to inspect our own fruit. The activities we engage ought to be pointing to the cross where one finds God’s love and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:16). The words we speak ought to be edifying (Ephesians 4:29) and to be characterized as grace seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). Paul encouraged, “And whatever you do in word or in deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). As followers of Christ, we should be bearing fruits in our lives that indicate that we are disciples of Jesus. Our daily lives cannot be disconnected from the faith that we profess. Just as we inspect the fruits of those leading us in the faith, we need to inspect our fruits to make sure we are indeed in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Let us not live passively. Rather, we need to apply the teachings of God to ourselves daily, living it and teaching it to others around us, too. The study of God’s Word coupled with the desire to live it produces fruit in our lives. This fruitful life is a detectable indicator of the One Who reigns in our lives. Beware of those who peddle rotten fruit!

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