Friday, November 30, 2007

"Were" and "Wicked"

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Whoever these people were, they are no longer what they were. They must have been dirty because they were washed. They must have been unholy because now they are holy. They must have been unjust because now they have been justified.

Now I will let the scripture tell you who and what they were.


Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral
nor idolaters
nor adulterers
nor male prostitutes
nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves
nor the greedy
nor drunkards
nor slanderers
nor swindlers
will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)



Paul, during the two years in Corinth, had led these people to the Father through Jesus Christ. He knew who and what they were before they entered the small gate and the narrow way. They were wicked, in general, and, specifically, some were male prostitutes and the rest of the list.

We all know of drunks and thieves and adulterers who have been forgiven and who are now clean and are no longer living the way they used to live.

However, there is teaching today that this is not true of the homosexuals. “They are not wicked in their practice, so they do not need to be made clean. They are that way by birth, so they cannot change.”

However, Paul says, “And that is what some of you were.” He knew them before and after. If they practice homosexual acts, they are as wicked as a greedy person or any other kind of immoral person. They are on the broad way to the bad place. They need to turn around. Jesus Christ is the means.

Contact me. I am willing to introduce you to former homosexuals.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Greedy

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor the idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Today I would like to emphasize the word greedy. When I try to picture in my mind a greedy person, I come up with a caricature that looks something like this: a fat man sitting on top of a mound of things—toys, money, food, houses—with one arm trying to protect his hoard while the other arm is reaching out for more.

If that were a true picture, most of us would be off the hook. Why? Because half of us are female, and most of us are not fat. And many of us do not have a mound of toys. However, caricatures are not true, accurate pictures. Greed is a heart attitude and cannot be drawn in pictures. Greed is one of the chief attributes of selfishness. It is related to coveting, which is commanded against in the tenth commandment.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:21)


A greedy person is an idolater. He worships something that is not God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 5:3-6)

Greed is wickedness. Wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

But that is what some of you still are.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Planned Parenthood

Recently I came across a display advertisement for Planned Parenthood in the Argonaut, the student newspaper for the University of Idaho. The ad had a very nice picture of a smiling happy, very good looking young man and woman.

That was the first lie.

In addition to the picture, the services were then offered.

1. “Emergency contraception”

This intrigued me. This is a euphemism for an “intentional abortion” which, in turn, is a euphemism for infanticide, which, in turn, is a synonym for baby murder.

Being pregnant is a normal event, not an emergency.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

The emergency is about to happen.

Planned Parenthood and the people in it are in danger of great judgment from God.

2. “pregnancy testing and options”

I wonder if 1, “keeping the child” and 2, adoption are two of the options offered.

I also wonder if the options are given to the father of the girl or to the husband of the woman or to the father of the baby.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Heavy Seas

At 3:40 a.m. on July 19, 1950 in a typhoon in Tsushima Straits between Japan & Korea a wave came over the bow and rolled me down the deck. The webbing at the rail kept me from going overboard.

Five months later we were bucking 50 knot winds for ten days from Yokosuka, Japan to Midway Island. The sea carried away our port bilge keel and our motor whale boat.

This was on the USS Brush (DD745).

This is a preamble to two great miracles of heavy seas in the Bible. In both cases the crew thought the ship and the boat were going to sink.

“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.” Jonah 1:15, 16

The sailors knew this was a miracle. They knew that the wind may stop but the sea does become calm at the same time.

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:22-25

As with Jonah’s sailors these fishermen knew that it was not coincidence. That could explain the wind but could not explain the water. They saw the cause and effect.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Love and in-Love by Lincoln Davis

I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference (which we all intuitively recognize) between the two following statements:

"I love you."

"I am in love with you."

The first statement is the sort of thing one wants to hear said to them; there is nothing like knowing that the affections and kindnesses of another person are directed at us. The second is the kind of thing one wants to be able to say - being in love with someone is a more self-referential feeling; it relates to the joy we get from a love relationship. Essentially, "I love you" is directed at the other, and "I am in love with you" is directed at the self.

Perhaps the best test of this distinction relates to how each feeling plays out when there is strain on the relationship. If a couple has quarreled, love relates to the concern that each person has for the other after the quarrel: "I hope he's not hurt," "How can I help her?," etc. After that same quarrel, in-love relates to our self interest: "How could someone I care about do this to me?," or "Will she leave me because of what I said?" In any given relationship and in any give struggle, both love and in-love may be involved, but they are distinct.

Whether or not the Greeks had any word or phrase for in-love (and I am no Greek whiz), my English version of the Bible does not tell me anywhere to be in love with anyone. We are to love God, we are to love one another, we are to love our wives, we are to love our children, but there is no imperative toward this self-referential in-loveness. That of course does not mean that in-love is a negative, but only that it is unnecessary.

Yet we are all taught about the desirability of in-love. I can see why; it's pretty heady stuff. The great couples of literature and history were as much in love as they loved each other, and the combination of the two surely makes for an ecstasy unequaled. But while Romeo and Juliet may have loved each other and truly cared for one another, it was only that they were in love that made them willing to kill themselves when each thought the other dead. Love will make you willing to die for someone, but only in-love makes you want to die because someone is no longer able to serve you.

I think love a much more noble thing than in-love; love, as St. Paul says, is patient and kind, gentle, not arrogant - but in in-love is hasty, impetuous, desperate, needy, insatiable. Love sustains; in-love consumes. Surely in many lives the greatest memories come from the times when we were most deeply in love with someone. But just as surely do the moments of greatest misery come from that same feeling - the greatest peaks and the greatest valleys come from the same rollercoaster.

Because in-love is self-referential, and depends upon what others can do for you, it is out of the individual's control. When others love you, in-love thrives, swells, exults in itself. But when others cease to love you, in-love is helpless, and can only ruminate on its own misery. Love, however, is active. As my uncle says (if I remember correctly), love is a transitive verb - it takes an object, and it serves that object. Where in-love is weak, love thrives. Love does not depend on what others do for you, but delights in what you can do for others. And love, again as St. Paul says, never ends.

I wonder if, perhaps, an initial act of love begins to create in-love: a man shows affection toward a woman, and when his affection becomes to her not just a bonus, not just gravy, but a necessity that she expects, she begins to feel that she is in love with him. I'd like to think of love as a means, and in-love as an end. However, one takes the means of love to serve the end in others. Because love serves others, it does not aspire to create in-loveness in the heart of the lover, but rather in the heart of the beloved. We love others so that they might have in themselves the joy of in-love.

I would like to be in love, but I think it much more important to love. And any joy I get from in-love is out of my control; I would rather take hold of what I know I can and must do and choose to love someone. If God were simply in love with us, I doubt He would have died for us, because what did we ever do to serve Him? Rather, we love because He first loved us. Love, and not in-love, is capable of redeeming the world. And God, perhaps, is the only Person with Whom it is safe to always be in love - He will never abandon, never forsake. Perfect love, it says, casts out fear.

(Taken from Lincoln Davis’ Friday, November 23, 2007 post at http://lincolndavis.blogspot.com/)

I think it is excellent. I will add my following comment.

There is a problem. That is, to the guy, there is no difference in the statements.

He is "in love" with the girl. He does not know that he is "in love." He thinks that he "loves" the girl and so he says "I love you." She wants to be loved so she believes him and thinks that he loves her. So she ends up "in love" with him and thinks she loves him and so says "I love you." He believes her. They are both "getting" and think that they are both "giving."

With love and respect,

Jim Wilson

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cigarettes

Here is a paragraph from a best selling novel of 1922.

“Would the gentleman wish his breakfast served in the parlor or—No the gentleman would have it right in his bedroom; but first, where were his cigarettes? He hoped above all things that the waiter had not forgotten his cigarettes. Some people began their days with cold showers—nothing less than a cruel shock to a languid nervous system. An atrocious practice, the speaker called it—a relic of barbarism—a fetish of ignorance. Much preferable was a hygienic, stimulating cigarette which served the same purpose and left no deleterious after effects.”

In 1943 I was with my father when he had a massive heart attack. Shortly afterward the doctor told him, “You just smoked your last cigarette.” He had rolled his own.

In 1950 during my senior year at the Naval Academy a sample package of cigarettes was at the place setting of each of the 2600 midshipmen for the evening meal. Since I did not smoke I gave my package to a classmate seated at my right. Instead of thanking me he said, “What’s wrong with smoking?” He said it in an accusatory tone. I responded that I was not willing to be a slave to something 2 ¾ inches long and inanimate.

In 1971 our two car garage was a hangout for 80 different high school kids every day. The garage could hold about thirty kids at a time, all smoking. We kept it open for eight months. If I ever die of lung cancer or emphysema it will be because of those eight months. It was called “God’s Garage.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Father and Son

Please pay attention.

The Father:

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:5, 6

One God the Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. I am not sure what “all” means but it seems to be encompassing. How about the prepositions “of,” “over,” “through,” and “in?” They also seem to make a complete statement.

The Son:

“He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.” Ephesians 4:10

How high are the highest heavens? He ascended higher than they are high. The text tells us why. “In order to” fill the whole universe.

If you want to put God in a box, please get a big box.

Friday, November 16, 2007

God, the Supreme Being

I was asked a question by a student from the People’s Republic of China. He wanted to know the difference, if there was one, between the God of the Christians and the gods of the many other religions. First of all God, if He is God, is not just the God of the Christians. Even the definition in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary makes this statement: God. The Supreme Being; the eternal and infinite Spirit, Creator and Sovereign of the universe.

Christians are one of several groups who know about Him; however, real Christians, not hypocrites, are the only ones who really know Him.

Here are two other descriptions of God from the Bible.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9)

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the Great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17, 18))


What about the gods of other religions? Some are the creations of man. They have the characteristics of fallen man. They were created by man in the image of man. Some are deified men (Augustus, Mao Tse Tung). Some of them are idols, and some of them are creatures of God, spirits who are evil, who exist in pantheistic and animistic societies. In any case, these little gods do not have the same characteristics as the God of the universe.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to thy name give glory, for the sake of thy steadfast love, and thy faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:1-8)

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dogmatic Statements of Salvation

There are people who are very dogmatic that they have been saved. Everyone who is saved should know that they are saved. However, just because a person dogmatically states that they are saved, is no guarantee that they are saved.

Jesus said it this way.

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

The real evidence of salvation is doing the will of the Father in heaven; it is who we are and what we do. This evidence, however, is not the means of salvation. The means of salvation is who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. It is not what we do that saves us. It is what Jesus Christ has done that saves us.

Before we are saved, we are slaves of sin and disobedient to God. After we are saved, we are slaves of righteousness and we express the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

Have you seen this change in your life?

You may have been baptized as an infant or as an adult. You may have signed a card at an evangelistic meeting. You may have walked down an aisle in church. You may have prayed at the altar. You may have received Jesus as your Savior. You may have confessed Jesus as Lord. You may have said all of the right words and yet you are not saved. You may say, “What else do I have to do?” Well, first, you must quit asking that question.

Do you trust in Him? You say, “Yes, I have confessed Jesus is Lord.” When you say this, if the emphasis is on Jesus is Lord, then you are probably saved. If the emphasis is on what you did, “I have confessed,” then you might not be saved. Our trust is not in our confession. It is in the LORD and what He has done for you.

You respond to the love of God expressed in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

Suggested reading is Romans, chapter 10.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I "Hope So" or "Think So"

Having the knowledge that you have Eternal Life is one of the characteristics of having eternal life. If you are in a “hope so” or “think so” position, then it is a real possibility that you do not have eternal life. Here are two real situations.

A woman once came to me for advice about her 18-year-old son. She told me a story of how her son had been president of the youth group in church and was very active in church. He was also breaking into houses. The more she talked, the more I realized that she was a major part of the problem. I asked her what she believed religiously. She replied very strongly that she believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He had died for the sins of the world, that He rose from the dead and that salvation was by faith alone. With this answer I then asked if she knew what would happen to her if she died that instant. She said she thought she would go to Heaven. Why did she think so? Because, was her answer, she never missed church and she sang in the choir. When I pointed out to her the incongruity of her two answers she saw that her first answer was a catechism answer, the right answer. Her second answer was what she really believed, where she really put her trust. She did not trust Jesus Christ at all; she trusted in her own good works. That is why she “thought” she would go to Heaven.

Sometime later I managed a textbook store at a Christian college where they had daily chapel as a requirement. One day I asked a student what he thought of the college. His reply was that he had not been to chapel since he had been there. It was all a fake. There ought to be one big church and no denominations. I replied that God would probably agree with him. One of the problems, I explained, was that some of the major leaders in the ecumenical movement did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, His death for our sins, or his bodily resurrection from the dead. This was a shock to him. His reply went something like this. “Then they are not even Christian.” I asked him where he stood on the basics of the Christian life. His reply was very complete. He believed in the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, and salvation was by faith alone. I think he even mentioned the “second coming.” When I asked where he would go if he died that instant, he replied that he had not the faintest idea where he would go. Why did he not know? He did not know how good you had to be to go to Heaven. He also would fight for his catechism answers, the right answers, but personally, privately he did not trust them. He trusted in his own goodness, and he knew that he was not good enough.

Both of these people, the same day, saw the difference in their own answers and put their trust in Jesus Christ. From then on they were sure of their own eternal life.

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spiritual Life

One of the characteristics of human physical life is knowledge of that life. We can declare that as an axiom, without proof. We have not yet met anyone who was unsure that he was alive. There are many other evidences of life besides knowledge; eating, sickness, breathing, and sleeping are a few.

There is a parallel truth in the spiritual life. Spiritual life itself should have knowledge of that spiritual life. However, there are other evidences to that life. Many are found in that short letter back toward the end of your Bible, 1 John.

I will start with 1 John 5:13:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Notice that this verse gives the reason that 1 John was written. I encourage you to read those five short chapters several times this week in order to find out whether you have spiritual life. Remember, there are only two destinations: destruction and life. There are two ways: a broad way and a narrow way.

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11, 12)

Do you have the Son?

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. (1 John 5:14, 15)

Do you love your brother?

Do you hate your brother?

These are evidences of life and death, not the means of going from life to death.

Would you like to talk about it? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jesus Christ and the Transcending Facts of History

The wonderful part about the facts of history concerning Jesus Christ is that these same facts also transcend history. The same cannot be said of Genghis Khan, Napoleon, George Washington or anyone else who has ever lived.

Jesus lived, died, and rose again in history. He also lives across history. He said,

Before Abraham was (history) I am (across history). (John 8:58)

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come. (Revelation 1:5)

Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead (history) and behold I am alive for ever and ever (across history) (Revelation 1:17, 18)

The fact in history took place the first day of the week after the Passover, probably in 29 AD.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” (Matthew 28:1-6)

That is the event. Here is the significance.

It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:24, 25)

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Born Once or Twice

The Bible speaks of the natural man and the spiritual man. The natural man has been born once. The spiritual man has been born twice. The natural man has limitations that the spiritual man does not have. One of them is that he does not understand spiritual truths.

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Years ago an agnostic English professor (he is now a Christian) told me that he would read a book recommended by me if I would read a book recommended by him. His book was Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw. Here is a quotation from the preface.

“Not long ago I asked a writer of distinguished intellectual competence whether he had made a study of the gospels since his childhood. His reply was that he had lately tried, but “found it all such nonsense that I could not stick it.”


About ten pages later Bernard Shaw says,

“Let us admit that without the proper clues the gospels are, to a modern educated person, nonsensical and incredible, whilst the apostles are unreadable.”

Bernard Shaw was only agreeing with the New Testament. The New Testament says that the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God. Bernard Shaw said that he did not understand. He was identifying himself as a natural man. He thought that the shortcoming was in the New Testament when in reality the shortcoming was in him. He was brilliant, but this kind of understanding does not come with brains; it comes by the Holy Spirit. Bernard Shaw did not have the Holy Spirit. He was a natural man.

My recommendation to the English professor was Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Light of the Gospel

There is a wonderful statement made by the Apostle Paul recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:2-6:

We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

It is this light that changed me from a natural man to a spiritual man. What is the light of the gospel? Here it is expressed again by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6:

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for your sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

The gospel (good news) is centered in Jesus Christ—who he is, what he did, and why he did it.

We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. (Romans 5:6-8)

Pray that your eyes would be opened, and read this several times.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is a Spiritual Man?

What is a spiritual man? The last two weeks you have read the characteristics of the natural man. First, the spiritual man does not have the nature or the characteristics of the natural man. He is different! How is he different? Well, here are a few differences.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 5:22, 23)

The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (1 Corinthians 2:15)

Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more…. But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brethren throughout Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, to do so more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1, 9, 10)

Which list describes you the best: the verses of the last two weeks or the scriptures above? If it is the verses of the last two weeks, then it is very simple. You are not a Christian; you are a natural man; you are on the road that leads to destruction. Am I judging you? No! I do not even know you. If you feel condemned, it is because of the word of God and your own character.

Why can’t you be in both lists? Perhaps you can, but you were not saved out of the works of the flesh in order to remain in them. Jesus Christ does a better job of saving people than that.

Reading assignment: the last four chapters of each of the four gospels.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How God Sees the Natural Man

Last week we got a short, but clear view of how God sees the natural man. Here are two more short expressions from the Bible.

Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Did you see yourself with any of the characteristics quoted last week? If not, the above will fill in any gaps. In any case, this is the nature of man, the natural man.

If we had the burden of proof to establish that man was intrinsically good, we would need to know more than we know now. If we had all knowledge of human history and all newspapers and all family records throughout all generations, it would be with a hope that we would stumble across something that differs with the Bible quotations. Yes, we would come across good people. They would be the ones who had entered the small gate and were on the narrow way. However, they were not intrinsically good. They had been bad and became spiritual men and were no longer natural men. It is not possible for a natural man to become a spiritual man without God. Natural man wants to earn his way. Next week—God’s conditions on how to become a spiritual man.

Read Romans, chapters 4 through 8.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Two Kinds of Men

The Bible speaks of two kinds of men, the natural man and the spiritual man. All people start out as natural men. Natural man has many characteristics, a few of which are

1. He is selfish.
2. He is self-willed and rebellious to authority if the authority is righteous.
3. He is religious.
4. He does not understand the things of the Spirit.

Many men end as natural men. Remember that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. Here are two quotations that describe the natural man.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

The natural man will be continued next week. Recommended reading: Romans, chapter 1 through 3.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Friday, November 02, 2007

'Holier than Thou'

About 28 years ago in Moscow, Idaho, I became good friends with a student who was not a Christian. One day he came into the bookstore and decided to tell me what he did not like about Christians. The conversation went something like this:

“They all have a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.”

I replied that I knew many Christians and did not know any who had a “holier than thou” attitude. “Name one,” I said.

“All right,” he replied, and then proceeded to name another student whom I knew. This fellow did not have a “holier than thou” attitude, and I assured my friend that this Christian was innocent of the charge.

My friend then asked, “Why, then, do I think he’s got a ‘holier than thou’ attitude?”

“Oh,” I replied, “He is holier than thou.”

In another instance, at another time, in another store near the University of Maryland, a student came in. He was a stranger to me. He found out what kind of store he was in and launched a tirade against Christians, saying why he was not a Christian. He amplified this by reference to the Crusaders, Inquisitors, Conquistadors, and hypocrites. After he finished, I agreed with him and then asked him these questions.

“Were the Crusaders Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Were the Inquisitors Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Were the Conquistadors Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Are hypocrites Christians?”

“No, they aren’t Christians.”

Then I said, “You just told me that you are not a Christian because of non-Christians. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

I will tell you the rest of the story if you contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org. This week’s reading: The Gospel according to St. John.

(From Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Gate, the Way, and the Final Destination

The small gate and the narrow way are unrelated to what I am or what I do. They have to do with who God is and what he has done. Today I will limit this to say that Jesus is the gate, the way, and the final destination.

However, the wide gate and the broad way are very much related to what I am and what I do. First, I am a sinner and second, I do sin. In other words, I can go to Hell all by myself without any help from anyone else. In order to take the other way, I need help. I cannot find the gate or walk the way without help from God.

This help from God came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. This help came as a gift. Like all gifts, He is free. He is not earned or deserved, nor is He cheap.

The broad way that leads to destruction is a toll road. We pay our way.

For the wages of sin is death…

The narrow way is a free way:

…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NIV)

The gift of life was paid for by death.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)

Recommended reading for this week: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)